Speaking at his press briefing on May 16, a day after the public discussion was thwarted in Tbilisi, Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze announced that the nationwide discussions on the proposed draft of constitutional amendments will continue until the end of May.
Kobakhidze explained that the nationwide discussions will reach ten additional cities across Georgia (Zestaponi, Samtredia, Sighnaghi, Khulo, Marneuli, Akhalkalaki, Ozurgeti, Poti, Kazbegi and Mestia) and ten districts in Tbilisi. Meetings will also be held with various interest groups, including with the academic community at universities and the political party representatives.
The Parliamentary Chairman added that a meeting on the draft Georgian constitution will also take place in Berlin on May 22-23, involving the Venice Commission experts, other foreign and Georgian experts, as well as the representatives of political parties and the civil society organizations.
“We have already held public discussions in ten regions. Regretfully, the discussion in Tbilisi was disrupted. We have listened to public opinions and, eventually, the parliamentary deliberations will continue through taking these opinions into account,” Kobakhidze stated.
Irakli Kobakhidze also noted that a number of “particularly sensitive” issues have been identified at the discussions. He, however, added that since the process “is still underway,” he was unable to speak on specific changes that could be included in the draft constitution text. “Once the public discussions are over, we will comment on how particular norms can be amended.”
Public discussions – a formal procedure required for any constitutional amendment in Georgia – have already been held in ten cities across Georgia (Kutaisi, Ambrolauri, Ozurgeti, Batumi, Zugdidi, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Telavi, Mtskheta and Rustavi). The draft constitution is to be voted by the Parliament once the process is over.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who boycotted the work of the Constitutional Reform Commission and spoke against the reform process on numerous occasions, joined the public discussions in Batumi, Zugdidi and Gori on May 8, May 9 and May 11, respectively.