Georgia – Tit-for-tat constitutional amendments

In Georgia, the current period of cohabitation is generating plenty of constitutional debate. So much so that there is talk of the government and opposition doing a deal and accepting each other’s amendments. The information is at

The opposition wants a constitutional amendment to ensure that the country adopts a pro-Western foreign policy. I haven’t scoured the texts of other countries in this regard, but this would seem to me like an unusual clause to put in a constitution. That said, lots of constitutions have lists of rights, duties, privileges etc that are largely declaratory rather than easily justiciable. In addition, the opposition also wants to make it more difficult to amend the constitution in future, raising the necessary number of votes from two-thirds of parliament to three-quarters and implementing this reform immediately.

For its part, the government wants an amendment to reduce the president’s powers. I reported on this proposal previously.

The reports now suggest that opposition is willing to accept the government’s amendment in return for those of its own.

The opposition’s support is needed because the government is short of a two-thirds majority. In theory, it has the support of 89 deputies and 100 are needed for the constitution to be amended.

One interesting thing to bear in mind is that the constitution will be amended, the president’s power will be reduced and the threshold for amendments will be raised to three-quarters after the next presidential election in October. As reported previously, a major set of constitutional amendments was adopted in 2010, but they will only come into force later this year.

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