Georgian Gov’t to Sue President in Constitutional Court

The ruling Georgian Dream party announced today that the Government will sue Salome Zurabishvili in the Constitutional Court over competencies, arguing the President violated the supreme law on several occasions, including by recent unauthorized visits to Paris and Brussels.

In the lengthy statement, the Georgian Dream claimed that the President has overstepped her competencies and pursued foreign policy by side-stepping the Georgian Government.

The ruling party claimed President Zurabishvili made the visits “without any prior consultations with the Government and informed it only after the trips, which confirms the President violated the Constitution with premeditated intent.”

The governing party said that “in gross violation of the Georgian Consitution,” the President over the past year on multiple occasions refused to appoint an ambassador or diplomatic representative nominated by the government.

The critical statement comes a day after President Zurabishvili, in her annual parliamentary address, criticized the Government for blocking her visits to western capitals amid Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

In the statement, the ruling party repeatedly reminded the President that in the parliamentary republic, such as Georgia, and per the Georgian Constitution, she has “ceremonial,” “legal,” and “formal” authority, while the government takes the lead on making political decisions, implementing foreign and security policies.

For instance, the Georgian Dream argued that even if the relevant normative decree on the diplomatic appointments is co-signed by Prime Minister and President, the latter has “pro forma” obligations, while the government is responsible for the selection from a “political-practical point of view.”

According to GD, the government is also exclusively responsible for implementing Georgia’s foreign policy priorities. The President, it maintained, may only engage in the process “only in exceptional cases, with the extraordinary consent of the Government of Georgia.”

Speaking of her visits to Paris and Brussels, the ruling party also maintained that President Zurabishvili returned from Europe without any tangible results. The GD argued it is now “proven” by the fact that she did not “say a word” on the trip even as she sought an extraordinary session on March 5 to speak about the visit.

The GD also argued that President Zurabishvili breached the Constitution and legislation vis-a-vis the Parliament on two occasions. The party reminded that she announced March 5 as the date of the then-postponed annual parliamentary address without prior consultations with the legislative body.

It also recalled that yesterday, she walked into the plenary hall alongside Ukrainian Chargé d’Affaires Andrii Kasianov. According to the statement, only the Parliamentary Speaker has the right to such discretion, per the Constitution and Parliamentary Rules of Procedure.

Further, the Georgian Dream slammed the President’s statements on State Security Council as “completely incomprehensible,” maintaining that inviting the President, opposition, and civil society representatives to its session “contradicts directly with the logic of the system and the essence of the body.”

In response to her complaints that amid the war in Ukraine the Security Council had not yet discussed military threats with her – the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the GD argued her reference to this status only indicated the President “either cannot or does not want to read the Consitution correctly.”

“In a parliamentary republic,” the ruling party stressed, “this status only carries a ceremonial role.”

The GD also lambasted the President’s suggestion to set up the State Ministry for EU integration and offer the post to the opposition. As it said, the President herself acknowledged in her address that the opposition is trying to “undermine the state.” GD left it to the public to judge the “benefits” of appointing such a “subversive” minister.

“In addition, the President’s statement clearly aimed to create inordinate expectations in the public about the pace of European integration,” the ruling party claimed.

Citing European politicians, such as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German chancellor Olaf Scholz, GD stressed that to attain EU membership “a number of reforms have to be implemented, that will take many years.”

GD also took offense at President Zurabishvili’s words that “the government commits a sin when it cannot dare to express what our past and dignity dictate,” referring to the governing party’s rhetoric about Russia.

In response, it listed Georgia’s political support towards Ukraine in international fora, including backing the decision to suspend Russia’s representation rights in the Council of Europe, co-sponsoring the UN Resolution condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and co-authoring a referral to the International Criminal Court.

“The Georgian President’s actions against the Constitution and baseless statements are particularly dangerous at a time when the world and Georgia are facing exceptional security challenges in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war,” the GD concluded in its statement.

In the 9-member Constitutional Court, at least five have been either selected by the Georgian Dream and/or tend to back the decisions favoring the ruling party. MORE

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