President ‘Delegates’ Right to Sign Association Agreement to PM

President Giorgi Margvelashvili has “delegated” his powers to sign the Association Agreement with the EU to PM Irakli Garibashvili as a one-time act specifically for this occasion, president’s parliamentary secretary, Davit Pataraia, said on Tuesday. 

President’s office and the government have been at odds recently over who should put his name to the Association Agreement in Brussels on June 27 – both the president and the PM claiming the right.

President Margvelashvili said on May 20 that he would seek a consultation with the government over the issue and although he thinks that legally it is the President who is authorized to sign the treaty, he would not make it an issue of dispute if PM signs the agreement.

But PM Garibashvili said on May 23 that the government had already decided, without consultations with the President, that the PM would sign the treaty.

“Under the constitution signing of this comprehensive agreement falls under the authority of the President,” president’s parliamentary secretary, Davit Pataraia, said on May 27. “The government decided to make the Prime Minister authorized official to sign the agreement. In order for the Prime Minister to execute the right of signing of the agreement in a way that would not question legitimacy of signature either now or in the future, the President has decided to delegate his authority as a one-time measure to the Prime Minister.”
He said that this decision in a form of the presidential order now requires approval, or as it is called “countersignature”, from the Prime Minister. Pataraia expressed hope that this “constitutional procedure” will be over in few days. 

Dispute over who should sign the agreement also involved legal arguments with government’s parliamentary secretary claiming that under the constitution the government “is the only authorized” entity to define who should sign an international agreement. But if now the PM gives his approval to and countersigns the presidential order giving the PM the right to sign the treaty, it would actually mean acknowledgement from the government that the president’s office was right when claiming the right to sign the agreement.


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