Georgia’s Saakashvili orders formation of constitutional commission amid political turmoil

MOSCOW – Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has issued an order to set up a constitutional commission in an effort to end a two-month political stalemate, news reports said on Monday.

According to the order, the president, the government and the parliament can nominate three representatives respectively to the new body, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, citing an unnamed source from the presidential press department. 

Non-parliamentary opposition parties and non-governmental organizations, as well as law enforcement agencies and academic institutions, may also each nominate one candidate.

Avtandil Demetrashvili, a professor at Tbilisi State University, was put in charge of the commission designed to create a new power balance between the president and the parliament.

Saakashvili told Demetrashvili earlier that once the commission is established, it could run all by itself without any exterior pressure from the authorities.

However, several leading opposition parties said they would not join the commission, saying it cannot meet their demand for an early presidential and parliamentary election.

Georgia’s leading opposition parties and groups started demonstrations in Tbilisi on April 9, urging Saakashvili to step down over his failure to conduct democratic reforms and the brief war with Russia last August.

Saakashvili and opposition leaders failed to reach consensus in their first talks on May 11, despite the president’s five proposals, which included the creation of a constitutional commission.

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