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Appeal of the Republic Party of Georgia to the Venice Commission
Appeal of the Republic Party of Georgia to the Venice Commission

28/04/2017

The Republican Party of Georgia believes that proposed amendments to the Constitution of Georgia do not answer the issues and challenges which stand before the Georgian state at the present time. 

The constitution, as the country’s supreme law, should be based on a broad social consensus and establish a legal basis for the balance of powers in the country. From this perspective, theoretical discussions about the transition from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic are one thing, but, having examined the proposed amendments in detail, it’s clear that the changes would facilitate the establishment of one-party rule in Georgia and jeopardize the position of opposition parties. It could be said that the current government is setting out on exactly the same path as its predecessors. 

In and of itself, moving to a proportional electoral system by distributing the parliament’s 150 mandates proportionally is a step in the right direction. However, at the same time, leaving the electoral threshold at 5%, forbidding the creation of electoral blocs and, finally, granting undistributed mandates  to the party with the largest share of the votes leaves the current situation practically unchanged. Specifically, this practice does not facilitate the fair distribution of votes cast by the electorate and puts the governing party in a privileged position. It’s becoming clear that the government is avoiding the creation of a truly European model in Georgia and, in reality, has no intention of adopting and establishing the experience of many developed and democratic European countries, including governing by coalition. 

The assessments of local and international non-governmental organizations confirm that today in Georgia the issue of the independence of the judiciary is no longer merely under question. Rather they unanimously concur that the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are under the influence of the ruling political power and conform to its will. The same view is shared by political parties. In this context, the office of the President of Georgia is the only remaining independent institution, since s/he is elected directly by the population. It should be noted here that the majority of Georgian citizens believe that, in the current situation, cancelling the direct election of the President is unacceptable, since they deeply believe that the reason for this is to eradicate an independent institution. 

Similarly, the proposed constitutional amendments do not reflect the principles of de-centralization and do not create a constitutional basis for strong local self-government. Specifically, the concrete suggestions of the Republican Party in this area have been totally ignored. We believe that without the creation and development of strong local self-government, the formation of a strong and democratic parliamentary republic is impossible. Instead, the government has made the constitutional definition of marriage (as the union of a man and a woman) a focus of attention, despite there being no need for this. 

Unfortunately, because of these developments (the discussion of which is beyond the scope of this appeal), the Republican Party believes that the vitally important process of constitutional change, which should be facilitating progress, is, in fact, fueling social tension and creating an unstable political environment, which is in direct opposition to the will of Georgian citizens and their vision for the future development of their country. 



 

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