The Georgian Dream parliamentary majority plans to initiate a constitutional amendment under which the President retains all of its current powers, except of the one which allows him to appoint new government even if Parliament refuses to confirm it, Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili said on Friday.
Under the current system the government is under “constant threat” of being sacked by the President, Usupashvili said.
Currently the President has the right to dismiss the government and propose new PM and cabinet for confirmation to the Parliament.
If the Parliament refuses to confirm new cabinet for three times, the President then has the right to dissolve the legislative body and appoint new government without Parliament’s approval.
But the constitution also says that the President has no right to dissolve the Parliament within six months after the parliamentary elections, which were held in October 2012 and prior six months to presidential elections, which is scheduled for October 2013.
But despite of this restriction, which sets timeframes when the President has the right to dissolve the Parliament, if the President decides to sack the cabinet he will still be able to do so and to appoint his cabinet without dissolving the Parliament and in such case President-appointed government will be able to take office and new elections will be held under President-appointed government after the expiration of six months since the recent elections.
Usupashvili said that this existing system was causing sense of instability, especially after President Saakashvili’s recent rhetoric, who has stepped up criticism of the new government. Usupashvili suggested that this rhetoric had triggered speculation and perception recently that the President might one day resort to his right and sack the government, which under the existing situation would possibly trigger the crisis.
So in order to provide institutional guarantees that will prevent such situation, Usupashvili said, the Georgian Dream has offered the United National Movement parliamentary minority to pass constitutional amendments.
Under the proposal, Usupashvili said, there will be no reduction of presidential powers, except of one area – if the President decides to sack the government and the Parliament refuses to confirm President-nominated cabinet, he will be able to also dissolve the Parliament, but the President won’t be able to appoint his government before the election of the new Parliament; the proposal will also envisage removing six-month restriction in which the President has no right to dissolve the Parliament.
It means that if Saakashvili decides to sack PM Ivanishvili’s government the latter will still be able to remain in office together with his cabinet members as acting government before the new Parliament is elected.
The initiative was first announced by PM Bidzina Ivanishvili during his interview with the Imedi TV station on December 27. Usupashvili said on December 28 that he informed about this planned proposal leader of the UNM parliamentary minority group, MP Davit Bakradze, before the initiative was announced publicly. He said that GD was willing to cooperate closely with UNM over the proposed constitutional amendment.
Usupashvili also said that the Georgian Dream was earlier thinking about possible changes in the constitution to significantly cut the presidential powers. But the plan has been dropped, he said.