Constitutional Changes

President Vetoes Draft Constitution and Calls for Extraordinary Parlt Session

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გიორგი მარგველაშვილი Photo: საქართველოს პარლამენტი

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili requested yesterday to hold an extraordinary session of the Parliament of Georgia for tomorrow, October 13, in order to discuss the President’s veto and remarks on the new draft constitution.

The President vetoed the draft constitution on October 9. The draft constitution has been criticized previously of being a document drafted by the ruling Georgian Dream party rather than a constitution of consensus.

In his remarks, the President made objections against the proposals to end the system of direct elections for the presidency by 2020, against the prohibition of creating alliances or electoral blocs in parliament, against the ‘bonus system,’ and suggests changes in Article 60, Part 6 of the Constitution of Georgia regarding the method of evaluating the unconstitutionality of elections.

Margvelashvili suggests that the evaluation by judges of the Constitutional Court whether an election is unconstitutional or not should be based on the decision of the majority, rather than the current requirement that it should be a unanimous decision.

Regarding new the bonus system being proposed in the constitution, additional seats in the parliament will be allocated to the parties who collected more than 5% of votes in elections. To calculate how much seats each party gets, all the votes the party has collected is multiplied by 150 - the number of seats in parliament - and divided by the total votes of all parties. The resulting whole number is the amount of seats a party is getting. If the resulted sum of all parties is less than 150, than the winning party gets the seats.

Last week, Georgian Dream Members of Parliament asked President Margvelashvili to veto only two aspects, the bonus system and the prohibition of forming electoral blocs. The MPs stated that if the president vetoes other parts of the draft constitution, the veto will be overridden by parliament, which needs a majority to override the veto.

Georgian Dream MP Gia Volski says that the President's veto regarding the constitution project "must be overridden” and that Margvelashvili's remarks are politically motivated.

“On the contrary of the lies being spread, we have taken into account all the remarks,” Volski told InterpressNews. “We are also ready to introduce a new initiative out of care for the country. If any serious remarks that we have not seen before will be made, and the change will result in a positive change, any political team should be ready to take responsibility and take the initiative.”

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