სახელმწიფო საკონსტიტუციო კომისია
Irakli Kobakhidze: today, we considered unprecedented veto
“When listening to the opposition, including the representative of the President, I had the impression that either they have never read the document or have read quite another bill”, - the Speaker stated at the extraordinary plenary session.
He compared the current Constitution with the bill and noted that none of the Articles in the new document exists improving the positions of the ruling party but it establishes the brand new Constitutional tradition and culture.
“I have many times asked the opposition, including the President to name such Article but they failed because no such Articles exist. As you remember, more than 30 changes have been introduced to the Constitution during the preceding years. All of them served for enhancement of the political positions of the then political power. Now, we the new changes we establish the brand new Constitutional tradition and culture implying that changes are being introduced not to enhance the political positions of the ruling party but on the contrary. It is for the first time when the changes to the Constitution decline the political positions of the ruling party and it is aimed to enhance Georgian democracy”.
The Speaker spoke about the remarks concerning the proportional electoral system and Presidential election. “One of the remarks concern the proportional elections –only postponement of enactment and we have already elucidated the reason – it was the purely political reason and we all know that today, it is impossible for the Parliament to support this issue, though we made the first step to the proportional system and it will enter into force today for next convocation of the Parliament. As to the second remark – it concerns the Presidential elections and I would like to underline sundry matters: people might have forgotten as no one speaks about it: we enact this system since 2024. Under these conditions, we naturally cannot speak that the change serves for our subjective interests. Some of people even used insulting words like “freak” etc. but this change serves to no one’s freak otherwise we would move to the indirect elections in 2018. If anyone is afraid of the Presidential elections, it must have been us in 2018”.
The Speaker echoed the statement that the changes entail threat of concentration of power in the Parliament. “Once again, this norm will enact in 2024, after the Parliament is elected with proportional manner. The term “concentration of power” means that we do not know the basics of the Constitutional Law. Concentration of power in the Parliament is the best phenomenon that the Constitutionalism can be characterized with. It is an elementary and gross mistake. We mean that the system we introduce in 2024 when the Presidential indirect election rule is already effective. We mean the proportional election of the Parliament. It means that when the President is elected with indirect manner, any concentration of power in the Parliament and Government will be excluded. On the contrary, it is the system that at least minimizes possibility of concentration of power in one party – on the basis of the Elections 2024 the Parliament will be elected where the respective power can at maximal extent gain minor privilege and we can even have the coalitional authority. So, speculations about the excessive concentration are not expedient. The changes bear no threat of concentration of power when the President is elected in indirect manner”.
He underlined that this is better for the Parliamentary system as evidenced by the Venice Commission. “We have held the opinion poll to find out percentage of people voting for direct or indirect election of the Prime Minister. We all know that direct election of PM is nonsense. Imagine that the 81% of the population support direct election of the President and 75% - of the PM. We would have the same result if we asked the similar questions about the Chair of the Constitutional Court or the Supreme Court. It shows that it is easy to speculate with these issues and it results in the situation we have today. As to expediency of the system, we move to the indirect election not for the subjective interests but as it is better for the Parliamentary system as evidenced by the Venice Commission in the final opinion – the Commission supports indirect election of the President and so, we do not share the remark of the President”.
The Speaker echoed the statement that the Constitutional changes are only supported by Georgian Dream. “The Constitutional Commission was composed of the experts, NGOs, Constitutional agencies and most of them supported the Constitutional changes. The most qualified experts supported the changes and as to NGOs, it is stated that allegedly all NGOs were against. It is wrong. So, speculations that allegedly only Georgian Dream supports the changes is wrong. Georgian Dream is not alone in supporting the Constitution. It is the other party rejecting the changes that is alone”.
The Speaker underlined that the Parliament considered an unprecedented veto. “Today, we considered unprecedented veto. Veto in general means that according to the President, the bill is not effective and if the remarks are shared, we adopt a good bill. It is the Presidential approach. In our case, we are not told that if we share the veto, the Constitution will be effective. Today, Mamuka Mdinaradze was responded that the document will be not good but the worst. Imagine the situation: today, we think that the document we want to adopt is good and if we override the veto, we will adopt the document we consider bad similar to the opposition. It is offered by the President which lacks any rational basis. Taking all these facts into account, I leave it up to you to estimate the veto and the document adopted by the Parliament with the III reading”.