Venice Commission welcomes Georgia’s draft revised constitution

  21 June 2017    Read: 784
Venice Commission welcomes Georgia’s draft revised constitution
The Venice Commission has published the full text of its opinion about the Constitutional Amendments to the Georgian Constitution.
The Commission says that in general, the proposed reform deserves a positive assessment. It completes the evolution of Georgia’s political system towards a parliamentary system started by the 2010 constitutional reform, and constitutes a positive step forward to consolidate and improve the country’s constitutional order, based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of fundamental rights.

The assessment says that in its 2010 opinion, the Venice Commission recommended to further strengthen the powers of parliament and to reconsider in particular the procedure for the vote of no confidence. "The proposed reform achieves these aims and the Venice Commission cannot but welcome the current process of constitutional revision,” the opinion says.

As regards the process, the Venice Commission underlines that all stakeholders should seek to reach "the widest possible consensus” for this major constitutional reform.

The Venice Commission believes that the replacement of the current proportional/majoritarian election system by a proportional election system is, "without doubt,” a positive step forward aiming at increasing pluralism in Parliament, reported.

"While the 5% threshold is perfectly in line with European standards and does not as such expose itself to criticism, taken together, these three mechanisms limit the effects of the proportional system to the detriment of smaller parties and pluralism and deviate from the principles of fair representation and electoral equality to a larger extent than seems justified by the need to ensure stability,” the Commission says.

The Commission also says that the introduction of an indirect election system for the President is in line with European standards. It also adds that it is welcome that the new system will not be applicable at next year’s election but only from 2023.

"It should however be borne in mind that, also in the absence of a functioning senate, the main counterbalance to a strong government with an overwhelming parliamentary majority in the Georgian constitutional system is the President. Consequently, the passage to an indirect election system should not result in the constant and exclusive election of the candidate presented by the parliamentary majority as President,” the Commission adds.

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