The Delegation of the European Union to Georgia issued a joint statement on October 10 in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Georgia, expressing regret over the lack of “broader consensus” around the amendments to the Constitution and calling for further cooperation over the reform process.
According to the statement, the European Union voiced early in 2017 “its expectation that the introduction of extensive amendments to the Constitution of Georgia would strengthen democracy and the rule of law, based on wide-ranging and inclusive consultations,” and welcomed “the commitment of the Georgian Parliament to consult the Venice Commission and fully incorporate its recommendations.”
“The Delegation of the European Union concurs with the Venice Commission’s opinion, released yesterday, which positively assesses the constitutional reform, stressing that it will complete the evolution towards a parliamentary system,” the EU Delegation said, adding that they “nevertheless” noted the Venice Commission’s regrets regarding the postponement of the introduction of the proportional electoral system.
The EU Delegation commented on the process of political consultations over the constitutional amendments, expressing its regret “that a valuable opportunity has not been properly seized to build broader consensus around the amendments to the Constitution,” and encouraging “all relevant political actors to work together further to complete the adoption of the new Constitution.”
The statement touched upon the ruling party’s pledge to introduce additional changes to the Constitution, saying the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia is “confident” that the parliamentary majority “will keep to its commitment to allow electoral blocs and apply a three percent threshold for the 2020 parliamentary elections, as well as to abolish the bonus for the winning party, when fully introducing proportional parliamentary elections in 2024.”
The Parliament approved on September 26 amendments to the constitution on its third and final reading. President Giorgi Margvelashvili vetoed the amendments on October 9, offering his objections to the Parliament for consideration. The ruling party, however, said it would overturn the presidential objections.