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Ivanishvili Says UNM’s Proposal on Test Vote 'Not Right'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Mar.'13 / 12:36

UNM’s proposal to at first hold a non-binding, test vote on constitutional amendment “is not right”, PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said on Wednesday, few hours before the parliamentary session starts discussing draft of amendment stripping the President of his right to sack government and appoint new one without legislative body’s approval.

“Of course that’s not right,” Ivanishvili told journalists. “Let them vote if they want, but if they don’t want they should not vote for it. It will show their face. No one has requested them to vote. Let them act as they think is right; no need to make hype out of it.”

He said it’s up to the Parliament to decide whether to hold or not the test vote, but also added: “I think it won’t take place.”

President Saakashvili said in his address late on March 20 that this vote was needed for the UNM in order to show that it “has not been broken” despite of “unprecedented campaign of pressure” on its lawmakers; he said that pressure was exerted on them to switch sides. President Saakashvili and his UNM party say that test vote was needed to demonstrate that contrary to some Georgian Dream MPs’ claims that there were some lawmakers within the UNM ready to break party line, the UNM kept its unity and it was not possible to endorse constitutional amendment by ignoring opposition’s opinion. UNM says that it will give as many votes to GD as it requires for garnering 100 votes needed for passing constitutional amendment.

Saakashvili reiterated on March 20 that he had no intention whatsoever to use his constitutional right and dismiss the sitting government and appoint new one without Parliament’s approval. He said that “an imaginary threat” created by the Georgian Dream coalition. “But I also understand that if the parliamentary majority has discomfort about [the President] having such powers, we are ready to remove this discomfort,” Saakashvili said, adding that on the other hand the Georgian Dream should also take into consideration UNM’s concern and accept the proposal on test vote.

Parliament Chairman Davit Usupashvili said in response on March 20 that no test vote was required as it was obvious that GD had no constitutional majority. Usupashvili also stressed that UNM’s approach that it would give as many votes as GD would require for two-third majority was not right.

“Parliamentary majority is not requesting for [UNM’s] support. The parliamentary majority is offering parliamentary minority to be part of the process in order for the Parliament to regain its powers and authorities” by depriving the President of his right to appoint new government without legislative body’s approval, Usupashvili said.

The issue whether to hold or not test vote should be discussed just before the constitutional amendment is put on binding vote. GD lawmakers have already signaled that they would be against the test vote.

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