Georgia prepares to restore monarchy

Georgia prepares to restore monarchy

The process of constitutional reform in Georgia has reached a new stage - constant disputes between the Georgian Dream ruling party and President Giorgi Margvelashvili resulted in a broad discussion about restoration of monarchy in the country. In its "constitutional form", obviously, but in any case, this idea is very "comfortable" for the ruling elites, since it automatically removes most painful problem from the agenda - powers of the head of state.

Current president, who has become an opposition to the ruling party, naturally advocates for strengthening of presidency institution, nationwide elections of the head of state and expansion of his powers. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who, according to the current constitution, has biggest powers, as well as his party Georgian Dream, support the concept of transition to the German model, in other words, a parliamentary form of government, when the head of state only has ceremonial functions.

According to constitutionalists, nationwide presidential elections in a parliamentary republic create "potentially conflict-prone system." They believe that Georgia should choose between presidential (American, French) or German model. They also say that the expansion of presidential powers would be illogical in a parliamentary republic. But political class has reached a consensus on the need to move to parliamentary government, so disputes over powers of the president and his election could continue forever.

In these conditions, the most influention figure in Georgia made a proposal on how to break this political deadlock. During Sunday sermon, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II proposed to return to constitutional monarchy. In other words, he proposes to return the throne to representative of Bagration royal house. This house ruled from 975 to 1801. "Georgian society should think about the fact that Georgia is one of the oldest monarchies, and this form of government brings peace to the country," he said.

Leaders of the ruling party enthusiastically supported the initiative. Chairman of the parliament and head of the constitutional commission Irakli Kobakhidze immediately met with Catholicos, expressing his full support to this initiative. Moreover, many deputies from the rulling party don't hide the fact that restoration of monarchy easily resolves the problem of president's powers - in case it will happen, presidency institution simply won't be needed. 

The Bagration dynasty is recognized and respected by royal houses of Europe, in other words, the support of international monarchy is guaranteed. But this house has been divided by endless disputes and quarrels between different branches for a long time, so the choice of the next heir won't be that easy. 

Georgian church tries to make two main branches of the royal house reconcile. On February 8, 2009, with the blessing of the patriarch, distant relatives David Bagration of Mukhrani and Ana Bagration-Gruzinsky have married. Dynastic marriage soon fell apart, but representatives of the royal house had a son - Giorgi Bagrationi. Right now he is only six years old, and Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church made it clear that regardless of the outcome of current disputes, the Church is ready to take responsibility for his upbringing.

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