President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s administration has slammed the Government of Georgia for “disregard of the constitution,” and its attempts to “distance and sidestep” from “grave” problems persisting in the country.
The accusations follow the Government’s decision to snub President Margvelashvili’s request for a cabinet sitting over the recently-released covert recordings, which implicate senior officials in case-fixing and other allegations.
The President addressed the cabinet of ministers with this request in a press briefing on October 16, asking to hold a meeting with his participation and deliberate on “effective functioning of state institutions and protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms.”
A corresponding letter, signed by the President’s Parliamentary Secretary, Ana Natsvlishvili, and addressed to the head of the Government administration, Kakha Kakhishvili, was submitted to Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze’s office also on October 16.
The PM’s office responded to the appeal a day later, with Bakhtadze’s Parliamentary Secretary, Natia Mikeladze, saying they were ready to consider the request, provided that the letter was signed personally by President Margvelashvili “in line with procedural rules.”
“According to the Constitution, the President, personally, is entitled to address the Government; in this case, the letter was submitted by the President’s parliamentary secretary to the head of government administration and this contradicts the legal procedures,” she stated.
Ana Natsvlishvili, President Margvelashvili’s parliamentary secretary, said such interpretation of the constitution was “incompetent.”
“That the President has addressed the Prime Minister was seen by the entire country; unfortunately, in response, we saw the government’s attempt to disregard the constitution, and in this very grave situation, step aside and avoid responsibility,” Natsvlishvili noted.
The presidential administration told Civil.Ge on October 18 that President Margvelashvili will not file a repeat request.
- This is the third time President Margvelashvili has asked the government to hold a session with his participation. In November 2014, he called for a meeting to discuss foreign policy-related issues, while in October 2015 he requested a sitting over energy security. Both requests were ignored by the government.
- According to the Constitution of Georgia, the President is entitled to request “particular matters” to be discussed at Government sittings and participate in the discussion. In the new constitution, which is to enter into force upon new President’s inauguration, the President will no longer be able to enjoy this right.