Venice Commission Issues Final Report on Georgian Constitution Amendments

The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission has released its final report on Georgia’s Constitutional Amendments, adopted by the Parliament of Georgia in October, 2017.

The report reads that in general, the commission welcomes the constitutional amendments, but regrets the postponement to reform a proportional election system, which will be introduced in Georgia in 2024 instead of the previously agreed 2020.

“The delay creates a major obstacle to reaching a consensus, because smaller parties will have to wait another six years before being able to benefit fully from the amendments,” the Commission’s statement reads.

However, the commission added these amendments include the possibility of political parties (in particular smaller ones) to form electoral coalitions (party blocks) and the reduction of the election threshold from 5% to 3%.

Furthermore, the Venice Commission says other previous recommendations were not taken into account, including a recommendation about the requirement of a qualified majority in Parliament for the election of the Prosecutor General.

“A draft article still provides an election of the Prosecutor General by a majority of the full composition of Parliament. A qualified majority could contribute to prevent the politicization of this institution, experts say,” the commission added.

Also, according to the Commission, the new draft article maintains the prohibition of creation of political parties on “territorial principle,” an unjustified prohibition, as other less intrusive measures into this right may be considered.

The report was adopted at the Venice Commission’s plenary session on 17 March. 

By Thea Morrison

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20 March 2018 09:25