Location of the Parliament – Topic for Discussion
This week, the Constitutional Commission is actively discussing the issue of the location of the Parliament of Georgia. On Monday, April 10, the Commission members received the draft amendments, which stated that the Parliament shall reside in Kutaisi. However, the positions voiced at the Tuesday session show that the location is still under dispute. According to the information disseminated after the Tuesday session, the concrete location of the Parliament of Georgia may not be written in the Constitution at all. Constitutionalist Vakhtang Khmaladze is author of the new initiative.
“The Parliament shall be located close to other governmental institutions. First of all, the Parliament and Government shall be located in one city. The provision, which states that the Parliament of Georgia shall reside in Kutaisi, shall be removed from the Constitution. Either the Constitution shall declare that the Parliament shall reside in the capital or nothing should be written in it about the location at all,” the member of the Constitutional Commission Vakhtang Khmaladze said.
His statement made clear that Vakhtang Khmaladze supports the idea of moving the Parliament to the capital. However, there are commission members, who claim that the Parliament shall reside both in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, “Let us write both locations: Kutaisi and Tbilisi and legalize this reality, which we have now. Today, the Parliament resides in Kutaisi but as you know, the parliamentary work is carried out in Tbilisi too. Finally, I support the idea that both addresses of the Parliament were written in the Constitution,” MP Koba Narchemashvili from the parliamentary majority said.
According to MP Narchemashvili, during the sessions, some people suggested to remove the concrete location of the Parliament from the Constitution at all. The commission members claimed that while there is no concrete address of the Government of Georgia in the Constitution, why we should make it concrete about the Parliament.
MP Zviad Dzidziguri from the parliamentary majority said it is not planned to move the parliament from Kutaisi to the capital in near future.
“If we remove Kutaisi from the Constitution, it does not mean that the Parliament will move to the capital. The parliament, the parliamentary majority shall make relevant decision. There are some controversial opinions about it within the majority too. So, the issue of the parliament’s location is still topic of consideration. Before the elections, the ruling party declared that we do not plan to move the parliament from Kutaisi to Tbilisi in near future and we will keep this promise,” vice-speaker Zviad Dzidziguri said.
The opposition political parties remind the ruling party of their pre-election promise and blame them in breaking the promise. The parliamentary minority evaluates move of the parliament to the capital as humiliating the role of the regions.
“The promise they gave to the Kutaisi dwellers is now transformed. We all remember the words of the Prime Minister. So, the Parliament will move from Kutaisi. We are sorry that our position and request to keep the parliament in Kutaisi was not accepted,” MP Khatuna Gogorishvili from the United National Movement said.
The issue of the parliament’s location, election rule of the President and distribution of the mandates in the legislative body (abolishment of the majoritarian system) will be settled by the end of April after the Constitutional Commission will finish the sessions.
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