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Constitution says NO to Authoritarian regime

13.05.2010  |  00:08

-No. They submitted their own draft. There was a conference I could not attend on various versions. But the committee can only present what it has done. Their draft can't be presented on behalf of the committee. I personally, as a member of the committee, received no documents.

However it turns out that the Public Commission is keeping a close eye on their colleagues from the governmental committee. Georgy Khutsishvili, an expert from the opposition was literally inspired by adoption of Demetrashvili-Sharmanashvili draft. As he highlighted in his interview with GeorgiaTimes he can't share a common opinion that only authoritarian rulers can handle difficulties.

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-There is a well-grounded opinion that the amendments to the constitution introduced in February 2004 after the Rose Revolution that considerably widened presidential powers led to drastic imbalance of powers in the country. Balance means equilibrium in three branches of power - legislative, executive and judicial. Now the constitution committee presented a version by Avtandil Demetrashvili, the chairman, that stipulates limitation of president's powers and reinforcement of parliamentary authority. This is the version that will have public support.

- What is in store for this draft? There is a lot of finalization to be done, isn't there? Will it be finally adopted by parliament the way it is now?

-Certainly that won't go smoothly. The committee had two other drafts, one aimed at leaving the situation as it is and even reinforce president's influence. The second draft was an in-between. But the draft presented by the committee chairman is closest to what we must get as a result, I think. We don't think that a strong president is able to ensure law and order in the country as well as stability the country needs. This can be achieved with the help of balance and equilibrium between three main power branches, not an authoritarian president and his powers.

-Why do you think the governmental committee rejected the Liberty Institute's draft to reinforce presidential powers and divide Georgia into states despite its alleged closeness to the government circles?

-Because their draft would inevitably break the balance in favor of presidential power. That would be a presidential republic with handicapped parliament and judicial power. The president would have too much power then. He would be able to dissolve the parliament at any time and so forth. I would say that an attempt to push through the idea of government in conditions of imbalance failed. The committee members were against that, and I think they were right.

-Is the Public Constitution Committee operating now and where are its proposals on amendments to the constitution?

-I'm a member of the public constitution commission and we suggest our own option. The concept is ready and it has been already submitted. It stipulates a much larger role of parliament comparing to president's power. I think our concept is even more advanced comparing to the draft the majority of state committee agreed to. Once we had chairman of Venice Commission of the Council of Europe visiting Georgia. We had a meeting and he looks forward to our proposals. Surely the state committee has already submitted its variant. We have now translated our concept into English and are going to present it to Venice Commission too. I think the work done by the public constitution commission was not in vain. We have raised a lot of issues that conceptually help develop a balanced constitution. The fact that Demetrashvili's draft was adopted made our project even more significant. I think this must be used for finalization.

-You don't give up your draft, do you?

-No, we don't. This is a specific product. It's an assignment that has been completed and published. I think it helps Georgia's constitutionalism anyway. It helps grasp the basics of legislation and legal order that our country must have. I think our draft is the best one. Since the majority of the state committee voted for Demetrashvili's draft which is a serious work too, we believe there is a chance to contribute to the draft finalization. The draft is not contradictory. Our draft proposed by the public commission would be contradictory to the law draft by Liberty Institute and it goes all right with Demetrashvili's proposal.

-What do you think about fears that the new draft is being written specifically for Saakashvili allowing him to retain PM position after his resignation?

There are assumptions of this kind. But I think Demetrashvili gives consideration to the balance. I don't think this is an ideal option but out of all three drafts it is the most moderate and well-balanced one.

 

Salome Batiani

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