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Opposition Parties Launch ‘Protect the Constitution’ Campaign
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 May.'17 / 19:19

A group of opposition parties launched a public campaign against the planned constitutional amendments dubbed as “Protect the Constitution of Georgia” and agreed on a special declaration that was signed by about 30 political parties.

Meanwhile, opposition Movement for Liberty – European Georgia party, which is one of the signatories to the declaration, launched a door-to-door campaign aimed to collect signatures for holding a plebiscite and called on President Giorgi Margvelashvili and political parties to support the campaign.

The parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition are against the planned constitutional amendments according to which the rule of direct presidential elections will be changed and the latter’s powers will be further reduced.

The opposition is also against banning the creation of party blocs ahead of elections while leaving the 5% threshold intact; new principle of redistribution of mandates; abolition of the National Security Council; changes in the rule of selecting the Supreme Court chair candidates and abolition of the status of a parliamentary city for Kutaisi.

According to the declaration released on May 1, the ruling party is alone in the constitutional reform process and the draft “reflects the interests of the ruling political party” only.

“The one-party draft proposed by the government, absence of public and political consensus, illegitimate nature of the ongoing constitutional process poses a huge threat to Georgia’s state and political system, its constitution and each and every citizen of Georgia,” the declaration reads.

“We launch a civil movement to protect the Constitution of Georgia in order to confront the ongoing anti-constitutional processes through joint public efforts,” the document reads.

The opposition parties called on the government “to suspend tailoring the Constitution to their own political interests”, as well as on the international community to support in protecting the democratic principles of Georgia.

Meanwhile, the Movement for Liberty-European Georgia announced the launch of the door-to-door campaign for holding a plebiscite in connection with the rule of presidential elections and the new model of electoral system.

The movement has already addressed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili with a request to set a plebiscite; but since the latter left the appeal unanswered, the European Georgia started to collect signatures.

“Tomorrow, European Georgia will launch a door-to-door campaign. We will visit each family and collect signatures for holding a plebiscite,” Davit Bakradze, one of the leaders of European Georgia, said on May 1.

Earlier, in late April, Davit Bakradze explained why the movement refused to demand holding a referendum noting that under the law, a referendum is held on entire territory of Georgia that cannot be discussed “under conditions of occupation.”

According to the Organic Law of Georgia on Referendums, “a referendum is nationwide polling by ballot intended to ultimately decide particularly important national issues. A referendum shall be held throughout the territory of Georgia; it has a legal effect and shall be final. The legislative and the executive authority of Georgia shall harmonize the legislation of Georgia and other acts within one month, based on the results of the referendum.”

According to the same law, “a plebiscite is nationwide polling by ballot to find out the opinion of the voters of Georgia or part thereof with respect to particularly important national issues. A plebiscite shall be appointed by the Prime Minister of Georgia and its results are of recommendatory character for the public authorities.”

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