- President offered constructive cooperation and practice of preliminary consultations to the new Parliament;
- "I will not tolerate violation of the rights of state institutions, media and civil society";
- "Constitution contains shortcomings, but it should not be tailored to one political team";
- Revival of the judiciary is one of the key challenges faced by the country;
- “Brave and unordinary” steps are needed to tackle economic problems;
- He called on the Parliament to intensify efforts in implementing foreign political priorities.
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili made an opening speech at the inaugural session of the newly elected Parliament on November 18 and offered “cooperation and constructive dialogue” to lawmakers.
He expressed regret that the country failed to get a multi-party Parliament as a result of the October parliamentary elections, which were held “with certain violations, but in a free environment” and warned that “excess concentration of power is dangerous even without any malicious intents.”
The ruling Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party will have a 115 seat supermajority in the new Parliament. The United National Movement (UNM) will take 27 seats and the third party, Alliance of Patriots, will have six seats.
“I will not tolerate even intentions of violating the rights of state institutions, media, civil society, constitutional rights of Georgian citizens; on the other hand, I express readiness for active cooperation,” Margvelashvili said in his address.
President Margvelashvili offered the Parliament to introduce “practice of preliminary consultations” on problematic issues and unveiled a number of new initiatives.
He called on the ruling party to take courageous steps for tackling economic problems in the country.
“Time has come for active, brave and unordinary steps that will ensure better economic future in the country, attract investments, stabilize Lari exchange rate and I will always support all those reforms, which will expand welfare of our citizens,” he said.
Speaking about revision of the constitution, the President stressed the need of reaching general consensus and recollected his support to PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s proposal to establish a group that would elaborate package of constitutional amendments.
Although the President acknowledged that current constitution contains “shortcomings” and needs to be amended, he warned against tailoring the constitution to the interests of any political group.
“Most important is to strengthen the mechanism of checks and balances, instead of concentrating all branches and institutions in one hands,” Margvelashvili said referring to the statements made by some members of the ruling party about possible abolition of the rule of direct election of the President.
Margvelashvili also said that revival of the judiciary is “one of the key challenges” faced by the country and offered the Parliament to develop the strategy on judicial development.
“Any talks about the system of checks and balances will be senseless if the court is not free from political influence,” he said.
President Margvelashvili called on the newly elected Parliament to create firmer guarantees for ensuring media freedom “to avoid even doubts of political influence” in the country.
“I always supported and will continue to support media freedom, because I believe that media should be active and free that is much more important in this political reality and situation,” he said.
Speaking about foreign policy priorities, President Margvelashvili called on the Parliament to take “clear position” in pursuing the policy related to strengthening European and Euro-Atlantic integration, de-occupation, deepening of non-recognition policy of occupied territories and reflecting these issues in the context of global politics.
In his 16-minute speech President Margvelashvili also focused on the need of reaching an agreement on the key principles of restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity and offered a dialogue to the political parties to establish a common vision.
Margvelashvili also stressed that education remains a priority in the country and declared 2017 as the year of education.
“We should start changes already today; we have no time to postpone building of future Georgia for decades, because immediate success is essential for our country,” he said.