The representatives of both parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties are attending the meeting organized by the ruling Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia party aimed to achieve consensus over constitutional amendments.
MP Archil Talakvadze, leader of the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority, who is chairing the meeting, told the participants that “all important issues of constitutional reform” will be discussed.
“We have gathered today to discuss all important issues of constitutional reform. We also have an opportunity to meet in Strasbourg, at the meeting offered by the Venice Commission,” MP Talakvadze said in his opening remarks on August 18.
“I think that we will reach an agreement on the key issue – it is the new constitution that will ensure the country’s long-term, democratic development, human rights protection and peaceful coexistence for all members of the society,” Talakvadze said.
Meanwhile, a group of Georgian civil society organizations issued a statement before the meeting on August 18, calling on political parties to achieve consensus over constitutional amendments.
“Although a number of issues cause serious controversy in the draft constitutional amendments and the provisions on presidential elections, justice and human rights still remain problematic, we suppose that it is essential to achieve consensus around the parliamentary election system. In case of failure to reach an agreement and of maintaining an unfair election system, we will receive the constitution approved by one party that will further fuel up political confrontation, increase tensions between political parties, harm the country’s reputation, as well as hamper its stable development and moving closer to Euro-Atlantic structures,” the joint statement reads.
“We call on the parties not to guide themselves by narrow party positions, but made a decision in line with the country’s interests. We think that special responsibility for positive completion of this process lies on the ruling political team. We hope that the ruling political party will take concrete steps towards achieving consensus,” the group said.
The Parliament of Georgia adopted the constitutional amendments with its second reading on June 23. The third and the final hearing will be held in autumn 2017.
The opposition slams the ruling party for its decision to postpone the introduction of proportional electoral system to 2024, as well as the decision to ban the creation of political party blocs ahead of elections.