Speaking at the Constitutional Reform Commission meeting on April 11, Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze denied claims that the constitutional reform commission aims to weaken the presidency.
“There are speculations that the Commission’s objective is to restrict the status and presidential powers,” he said. “The status will remain same as in the current constitution; this is a very high status, meaning that the President of Georgia will be the Head of State, the Commander-in-Chief and will represent the country in foreign relations.”
“We have a change in terms of [presidential] powers only in those parts, where legal logic requires it,” Kobakhidze added.
The Parliamentary Chairman also stated that the topic was also discussed with the Venice Commission experts, “who fully supported the changes.”
Kobakhidze reiterated that the President will no longer be elected through a popular ballot. “A lot of arguments have been provided demonstrating the advantage of indirect Presidential election in the presented system,” he explained.
He also outlined that the legislature will be elected through fully proportional system, rather than the current mixed proportional/majoritarian system. The new electoral system, according to Kobakhidze, will ensure “the best balance” between “the two basic interests” of electoral systems – pluralism and stability [of the constitutional system].”
“The new model entirely rules out the [possibility of parties obtaining] the constitutional majority. We remember full well that in the past, certain risks were associated with the presence of constitutional majority in the hands of one party,” Kobakhidze concluded.
The Constitutional Reform Commission, consisting of 73 members, among them experts and representatives of seven political parties, government agencies and non-governmental organizations, was established on December 15 and tasked to offer its recommendations by April 30, 2017.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili, has been at odds with the ruling party over the ongoing constitutional reform process, which he regards as a tool to curtail the presidency.