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Debate on Presidential Election System Looms
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Jan.'13 / 21:53

Idea has been floated by some of the Georgian Dream (GD) lawmakers to launch discussions whether to keep president’s post directly elected or to make it elected by the Parliament.

Discussions over the issue are expected to become part of a broader debate on country’s future constitutional arrangement as GD plans to propose setting up of a commission in February that will work on major amendments to the constitution, GD lawmaker Vakhtang Khmaladze told Civil.ge on January 21.

MP Khmaladze, who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs, says that making presidential post indirectly elected “is one of the options”, but no final decision had yet been made.

In 2010 Georgia carried out major constitutional reform, which will go into force after the October, 2013 presidential elections and which will significantly increase Prime Minister’s powers at the expense of those of the President.

“If we are moving to parliamentary system in which presidential powers will be significantly cut, a question arises why should we make additional expenses [by holding direct presidential elections] and why should we cause confrontation within society?” a senior GD lawmaker, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, told Rustavi 2 TV on January 21, adding that this issue might also be put on a nationwide referendum to let voters decide.

Some of the UNM lawmakers have already signaled that the parliamentary minority would be strongly against of the proposal to make President’s post indirectly elected.

MP Khmaladze also said the major goal of the intended constitutional reform should be to create a balance between branches of government; he said that the president should not have such extensive powers as it is now, but neither the PM should have such increased authority as it’s envisaged by the new constitution scheduled to go into force after the presidential elections later this year.

Also in February the GD dream plans to propose setting up of an inter-faction group within the Parliament to work on the election system reform and major amendments to the election code.

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