Parliament voted today to adopt amendments to the Constitution of Georgia during a plenary session with its third hearing, with 117 votes in favour and 2 against.
Only the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority supported the package. MPs from opposition parties left the hall during the vote in a sign of protest.
Movement for Liberty - European Georgia was the first party to leave the room, stating this “is a historical mistake.”
The party’s mayoral candidate for capital TbilisI, Elene Khoshtaria, delivered a speech to parliament, where she addressed the ruling party. “You are creating a shameful paper in the history of Georgia and you deserve to be alone in this farce,” Khoshtaria said.
The United National Movement also left the plenary session as a sign of protest. UNM MP Nika Melia said the Georgian Dream didn’t have “any political or societal group as an ally in the process of adoption of this constitution. You are adopting a dictatorial constitution.”
Before walking out on the session, Patriots’ Alliance MP Ada Marshania went to the tribune and bent down parliamentary chairman Irakli Kobakhidze’s microphone while he was delivering a speech:
Police surrounded the outside of the building of Parliament in Kutaisi, as supporters of opposition parties gathered and protested the adoption of the new constitution while the extraordinary plenary session was ongoing.
The President’s Parliamentary Secretary, Ana Dolidze commented on the new constitution:
“Unfortunately, today we have adopted the document which doesn’t belong to anyone but one single party. This is a wasted historical chance to have created the constitution.”
Parliamentary Chairman Kobakhidze thanked the MPs for “supporting the historical document, which creates the ground for the constitution that will ensure long-term development.”
The new Constitution will enter into force after the 2018 Presidential Elections.
According to the initiative of the ruling Georgian Dream party, under the constitutional amendments, the President will no longer be directly elected in a vote. The president instead will be elected by an electoral college of 300 members. 150 members will be MPs from Georgian parliament; the other 150 members will be representatives from local municipalities.
Also according to the planned changes, the parliamentary elections in 2020 will be held with a mixed electoral system, the same system Georgia has now. The Georgian Dream party only plans on abolishing the majoritarian system for the 2024 elections.
There will be a change implemented for the 2020 elections to switch from a 5% threshold to enter parliament, to a 3% threshold.