Georgian Dream-led Parliament has paved the way for the Government to launch a competence dispute with President Salome Zurabishvili after lawmakers pushed through amendments to the Law on Constitutional Court in the final hearing today.
The changes introduced a provision that would allow any state body to file a competence claim against another at the Constitutional Court over its “action or inaction.” The previous reading primarily permitted a dispute over the compliance of normative acts issued by the defendant.
The ruling party unveiled the amendments in late March but postponed its review for two weeks after facing criticism from the opposition and the civil society organizations. In an expedited review, lawmakers adopted the bill in the first hearing on April 12 and in the second on April 13.
The GD Government aims to launch a competence dispute with Salome Zurabishvili, claiming she refused to approve several diplomatic appointments. The governing party argues that the President’s role in signing off on diplomatic nominees is merely ceremonial as per the constitution.
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On March 15, when the Georgian Dream unveiled its decision to sue the President, it also cited her unauthorized Brussels and Paris trips amid the Russo-Ukrainian War as an example of the President pursuing foreign policy by side-stepping the government.
But subsequently, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili explained that the Government would only contest President Zurabishvili’s alleged refusal to appoint the diplomats.
The Presidential Administration of Georgia rejected the allegation, however. It said from January 1, 2021, to March 21, 2022 period, the GD government has nominated 12 candidates for the Ambassador or Head of Mission, all of which were approved by the President.
The Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, a key local watchdog, has slammed the introduction of the amendments for launching the dispute as an “attempt at political revenge against the President.