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Georgian parliament to approve constitutional changes this week
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-10-12 08:29
The parliament of Georgia is to approve this week the amendments to reform the country's constitutional law, after lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties have held consultations on the time-frame of a non-confidence vote.

The draft constitutional changes have already passed two parliamentary hearings, one on a 123-4 ballot and the other on a 125-4 voting.

The parliament of Georgia has 150 deputies in all.

The Venice Commission, which has sent representatives to hear opinions from lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties of Georgia, has described the proposed process of non-confidence vote as lengthy and complex.

The amendments, presented to the parliament by incumbent Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, give the non-confidence process between 50 and 60 days or in the presidential veto case between 70 and 80 days. The time-frame was shortened by 20 days after the second reading in the parliament.

But the Venice Commission described, in its Oct. 8 report concerning the Georgian constitutional reforms, the modification as "a positive development although an insufficient one."

The commission, an advisory body to the Council of Europe, appeals to the government of Georgia to wait for the final recommendations from the commission and take the recommendations into consideration before the final adoption of the amendments into constitutional law.

The Venice Commission, or the European Commission for Democracy Through Law, is composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law.

If the proposed changes to the constitution were adopted, the Georgian prime minister would take over the country's decision- making power in foreign and domestic policies.

The Georgian president will retain his/her role as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and head of state of the country.

Opposition parties in the country called in July for a delay of the parliamentary approval of the proposed constitutional changes which they argued would only favor incumbent President Saakashvili whose two-term presidency expires in 2013.

Rumors that Saakashvili was considering a move onto the prime ministerial portfolio surfaced in June as the French newspaper Le Monde quoted him as saying that he had considered "the possibility " of becoming prime minister.

The proposed constitutional changes envisages cutting the president's powers in favor of the prime minister as well as of the parliament.

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