State commission on constitutional reform endorsed on July 19 final version of draft of constitutional amendments with 44 votes to three.
The final version is fully in line with the basic draft, which was passed by the commission in May and will now go to the President; the latter will then send into to the Parliament for consideration.
According to the procedures, the Parliament will then launch a month-long public discussion of the draft before it is voted by the lawmakers.
After it is approved by the Parliament, the new constitution will increase Prime Minister’s powers at the expense of the presidential authority. The executive branch, according to the draft, will be led by Prime Minister, nominated by a party, which will garner most of the votes in the parliamentary elections. The draft also gives some additional powers to the legislative body, among others, also including simplifying process of overcoming presidential veto.
According to the draft, the proposed amendments should go into force from December 1, 2013. There are few provisions in the draft, including one chapter dealing with the local self-governance, which should go into force starting from January, 2011, according to the draft.
MP Jondi Bagaturia, leader of Georgian Troupe party, as well as Tamar Khidasheli, head of the legal advocacy group, Georgian Young Lawyers Association, voted against; they were calling for postponement of the voting. Levan Ramishvili, head of an influential think-tank, Liberty Institute, also voted against. At the early stage of the commission’s work Ramishvili presented his draft of new constitution, resembling the one of the U.S. model and which was in favor of a stronger presidential system. The draft, however, was declined by the commission.
Members of the state commission from the ruling party welcomed the draft.
“This [draft] provides a real balanced [system of governance],” Pavle Kublashvili, a senior lawmaker from the ruling party said. “The Parliament is the only source for the formation of the government, which represents a significant step forward towards the European-type of constitution.”