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On the Parliamentary Republic in Georgia

A transfer to the parliamentary republic has recently become a hot topic in Georgia. Most of the leaders of the numerous Georgian opposition parties claim such transfer to be their final goal. Their supporters among the Georgian population agree with this demand more often than not. The politicians know perfectly what they want and what they need it for. The common people, however, are largely unaware about some of the consequences of the demanded transfer to the parliamentary form of government.

The main argument of the supporters of the parliamentary republic is getting rid of the “chief”, which allegedly is the president nowadays. In fact, in the Georgian version of the parliamentary republic, prime-minister will have largely the same function that belongs to the president today. The only difference will be that the president is chosen directly by the Georgian electorate, while the prime-minister will be selected by members of parliament, in other words, by the modern leaders of the numerous petty parties. The deals made by such a process of selection and the probable benefits from these deals can be easily perceived by the opposition politician. If we imagine the parliamentary republic today, the head of government will be chosen by Natelashvili, Gachechiladze, Khidasheli, Gamkrelidze, Khaindrava, Bagaturia and other leaders of the small parties, in fact, independently from the people of Georgia.

At the same time, the negotiating skills of the opposition politicians can be seen even today. Even the self-proclaimed “United Opposition” found it problematic to choose a single presidential candidate. After exhausting negotiations, Levan Gachechiladze - a chanceless candidate, was chosen, only because he belongs to neither of the parties of the “United Opposition”. His neutrality turned out to be such an important quality that it overwhelmed his obvious weakness as a presidential candidate. It seems that choosing him was the only way to find a single candidate for the alliance of the opposition parties. At the same time, three other opposition parties nominated their own candidates, separately from the “United Opposition”.

It is a scary picture to imagine, how these politicians will act, if they ever have to negotiate on choosing the head of Georgian state.

It is quite obvious that the Georgian version of the parliamentary rule will consist of the endless political crises, brawls, and cloistered intrigues. As a result, the government will be horribly ineffective, and even less dependant on the public’s opinion than it is today. In the case of international crisis involving Georgia (which is not unlikely given the present situation), this ineffectiveness will turn out to be devastating for Georgia and its population.

The fact is that parliamentary republic is desperately needed by the failed politicians. People like Bagaturia, Natelashvili, Kukava, and dozens of other leaders of the Georgian petty parties will get the chance to govern Georgia, at the expense of the representative rights of the Georgian electorate. It is quite natural that they demand imposition of the parliamentary republic so fiercely. Without that they do not seem likely to ever gain any significant influence in Georgian politics, due to the desperate lack of people ready to vote for them.

 David Batashvili

New York, USA 

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