Giorgi Margvelashvili, 44, was sworn in as Georgia’s fourth president for a five-year term on November 17 in an oath-taking ceremony in the courtyard of parliament’s old building in Tbilisi center.
“I, the President of Georgia, before the God and the Nation, declare to observe the Constitution of Georgia, defend the independence, unity and indivisibility of the country, to perform faithfully the duties of the President, to take care for the security and welfare of the citizens of my country and for the revival and might of my nation and homeland,” Margvelashvili said, placing his hand on the Georgian constitution brought on a rostrum by chairman of the constitutional court.
After the oath-taking, Margvelashvili delivered inauguration speech.
The oath-taking ceremony marked entry into force of a new constitution, which significantly cuts new president’s powers at the expense of increasing prime ministerial authorities.
The new constitutional model is mainly regarded to be a shift from a rather presidential system to a mixed one where the executive power is concentrated within PM and government, which are accountable to the Parliament:
- Under the new constitution the President remains the head of state, a commander-in-chief and represents the country (and is no longer a “supreme” representative as it was under the previous constitution) in foreign relations;
- President no longer “leads and exercises” domestic and foreign policy of the state; this authority is delegated to PM and the government;
- President has the right to carry out negotiations with governments of other countries or to sign international treaties, but only with approval from the government;
- President has the right to appoint or dismiss chief of staff of the armed forces and other top military commanders, but only with agreement of the government;
- Many of the legal acts issued by the President require authorization from the Prime Minister; but no authorization will be needed for presidential acts issued during war, as well as acts concerning a decision to dissolve the Parliament, calling elections, signing bills into law, appointing judges;
- President has the the right to appoint or dismiss ambassadors upon nomination by the government (it will no longer be up to the Parliament to confirm ambassadorial nominations);
- President has no longer the right to initiate draft laws;
- Although under the new constitution presidential powers are significantly reduced, the new president retains an important role in case of non-confidence vote to the government; President will have the right to veto prime ministerial nomination by the Parliament. The procedure for non-confidence vote itself is lengthy and complex, which may take 50-60 days or possibly even 70-80 days in case of the presidential veto on prime ministerial nominee.
- President will have the right to appear before the Parliament once in a year to deliver annual report;
After taking oath of office, Margvelashvili delivered inauguration speech and headed to the Hero Square where he laid a wreath at a memorial of fallen Georgian soldiers.
Also on Sunday Margvelashvili will hold over dozen of bilateral meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries. In his capacity of the president, Margvelashvili held his first meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart Dalia Grybauskaitė.