Constitutional Changes

President on Constitutional Changes: Non-Competitive Electoral System is Being Formed

გიორგი მარგველაშვილი Photo: პრეზიდენტის ადმინისტრაცია

The new version of the constitution does not contribute to the balance between different branches of the government, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili thinks. The President’s spokesperson Eka Mishveladze talked about this at a press briefing today. Mishveladze also stated that the ruling party has decided to switch to a parliamentary system without any real discussion.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili thinks that “unfortunately, the new version of the Constitution neglects the people’s clearly-expressed wish to elect a president and therefore, a president will be elected not by our society, the citizens of Georgia, but according to the system of the so-called three hundred delegated voters.

Secondly, a new president will not even have those fewest rights that he had since 2013. And, what is the most dangerous, the country will actually no longer have a commander-in-chief; the commander-in-chief, who ensures the civic control over military forces, as well as successful defense activities in the region and reinforcement of defense capabilities.

According to the new version, the National Security Council and the Presidential Institute will be functionless. When a president, who is formally in charge of being the commander-in-chief during wartimes, is elected without any competence, his function is practically ineffective”, - stated the President.

President Margvelashvili has also assessed the change of the electoral system - transition to the proportional system as a step taken forward in the constitutional amendment process, but noted that it is not rational, according to the draft, that the winning party receives all undistributed mandates.

“This issue is not in accordance with the logic of democracy – the Commission members should explain the logic behind the statement written in the draft, according to which the winning party receives all undistributed mandates. . .".

According to the planned constitutional changes should they pass, citizens will not be able to directly elect the President, who will instead be elected by an electoral college of 300 electors. The president will be elected for a 5-year term.

The abolishment of the Majoritarian system for parliamentary elections is also planned by the changes, however the party gaining the victory will have all the mandates that are left, which means that the winning party will be able to get more people in the Parliament than citizens decided.

The Constitutional Committee started its work after it was officially approved by the Parliament of Georgia on December 15th, 2016. The aim of the group was to discuss the changes to the constitution of Georgia. NGOs, opposition parties as well as the president were integral parts of the commission from the very beginning.

State for the People, United National Movement, Democratic Movement, Patriots’ Alliance and other opposition parties have also left the constitutional commission.


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