Will Georgian President's term be prolonged?
In Georgia, the parliamentary majority plans to extend the term of office of the president to six years. The president elected in 2018 will retain his post for six years.
According to the constitutional amendments, for the last time the head of state will be elected by direct universal suffrage in 2018, and in 2023, 300 voters and the parliament will decide who will become the next president.
"There is a version, that it could be better to hold the elections in 2023, and then the extension is a problem," the representative of the parliamentary majority Mamuka Mdinaradze said. "And we are also considering the version that it could bу better to extend the term of the president's powers, which is also a certain problem," Georgia Online cited him as saying.
The United National Movement party said that this decision was made after they visited Venice, but before that they did not talk about anything like that.
The head of the Center for Global Studies, Nana Devdariani, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, admitted that it was difficult to find a logical explanation for this initiative. "First, perhaps it is due to the increase in the term of office of the Ombudsman of Georgia from 5 to 6 years. Second, maybe, in such a way, the ruling party seeks to demonstrate that by cutting down the powers of the head of state they increase his term," she explained.
Commenting on the reform, the expert recalled that a supreme body of legislative power elects the president in parliamentary republics. "And we have some kind of strange mixed system," the head of the Center for Global Studies noted.
However, she said that the public is also concerned about the fact that the ruling team is extremely dissatisfied with the incumbent president.
The political scientist Giorgi Nodia said that the Georgian Dream ruling party has two conflicting motives. "On the one hand, they want to curtail the powers of the president and do not want the president to be elected by direct vote. On the other hand, they are criticized by the Venice Commission," he said.
The ruling party, according to the expert, wants both to look like Democrats and weaken the presidential power. "From their point of view, the increase in the term of office of the president looks like strengthening of this institution of power. In fact, if the president does not have powers, then the length of his term of office is not of real significance," the political scientist stressed.
Nodia acknowledged that, based on Georgian realities and political experience of the last quarter of a century, Georgia always has a dominant political force that takes the majority in parliament. "It seems to me that in the conditions of Georgia it would be better to keep the president elected by direct vote and having more powers than a purely ceremonial president," George Nodia concluded.