Key Law for Govt-President Dispute Clears First Hurdle

Ruling Georgian Dream lawmakers have endorsed in the first hearing the changes to Constitutional Court law, allowing the Government to launch its announced competence dispute with President Salome Zurabishvili. 

New clauses introduced by the bill make it possible for state bodies to lodge a competence claim against another body over its “action or inaction.” Existing legislation allowed launching a dispute primarily to determine the compliance of normative acts issued by the defendant. 

The amendments are expected to clear the next two hearings through April 15, as the Georgian Dream lawmakers have opted for fast-tracking the review.

The GD unveiled the legislation in late March, soon after announcing the Government sought to sue President Salome Zurabishvili for pursuing foreign policy by side-stepping the executive branch.

The governing party claimed the President had violated the Constitution on several occasions, including by unauthorized visits to Paris and Brussels, as well as refusals to sign off on several candidates for foreign service posts.

Subsequently, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili of the GD clarified the Government would only contest President Zurabishvili’s alleged refusal to appoint the diplomats.

Tabling the legislative package was seen as an indication of the GD’s “attempt at political revenge against the President” by a key local watchdog, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association.

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