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Georgian constitution to remain unamended?2009-06-05 14:04
Georgian authorities and their implacable opponents condemn each other's reluctance to sit at the negotiating table again. EU Special Envoy Peter Semneby came to help them in Tbilisi with another call for dialogue. But the meeting he had with the opposition leaders and authorities was not a step forward. The plans to create a constitution reform committee are creaking at the seams. Zurab Abashidze, Georgia's ex Ambassador to Russia comments on the situation.
It is Peter Semneby's fourth visit to Tbilisi over the last two months. He again called on Georgian politicians to start dialogue. His meetings with the opposition were not a surprise for anyone. The main issue was discussed - ways out of the crisis for Georgia and a possibility of a meeting between the opposition and Mikheil Saakashvili.
"We explained to Mr. Semneby that we are expecting feedback from the authorities for the meeting to take place and for us to shake off the crisis together. It is sorrowful that the authorities do not even hint at such a possibility. Today we reconfirmed our readiness for negotiations asking the EU Special Envoy to take a more active part in acceleration of this process and bring this topic up at the meeting with the authorities" - Kommersant radio (Georgia) quotes Alliance for Georgia leader Irakli Alasania.
Democratic movement - United Georgia leader Nino Burdzhanadze stated the dialogue for the Georgian leaders was just a game. She urged Brussels to be a more active participant in the political processes in Georgia.
This time the stamina of the authorities failed them making some representatives repeat the accusations of their opponents. "If the opposition really wants to have visible results and a real dialogue it must stop "grimacing" to the TV cameras and make verbal statements on readiness for negotiations. They must start working in the state constitutional committee", - Speaker of Parliament David Bakradze said not concealing his hard feelings.
Though the implacable opposition is refusing to join the state constitutional committee now, the ruling parliamentary majority and parliamentary opposition have already nominated a candidate for its chairman. It is Avtandil Demetrashvili who presented an amendment draft stating he would raise the issue of introduction of a two-chamber parliament in Georgia. "The introduction of this model will increase the role of parliament. Its representational functions as well as the legislative process will get sounder as any accelerated adoption of laws will be excluded", - Georgian media quote.
Saakashvili expressed his intention to share his powers with the parliament at the end of last year when the protest wave was only in the making. Under the Georgian laws in order to introduce amendments to the Constitution at least 2/3 of votes of the total number of deputies are required. That is why Saakashvili has all necessary support to carry out a constitutional reform.
The dominant United National Movement (UNM) repeatedly took advantage of its status as the absolute majority. The UNM has 120 out of 150 seats in parliament. In March 2008 the last amendments to the Constitution were made when the electoral barrier was lowered from 7 to 5 per cent.
Either the UNM opponents have learned from their bitter experience or the time for a compromise is really expired the non-parliamentary opposition states: first the president must be replaced and only then we will be ready to work on the Constitution.