Message of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will not present his annual state-of-the-nation address to parliament on Friday after the majority of the unicameral legislature preferred to postpone it, the country’s parliamentary speaker said Thursday.

The parliamentary bureau, which compiles the working agenda of the 150-seat legislature, has held consultations about the annual speech and decided not to have it as scheduled, speaker Davit Usupashvili said.

"We respect the constitution of Georgia, including the president’s rights, but at the same time we respect ourselves as well," he said.

The parliamentary majority prefers to reach an agreement with the minority on its constitutional amendment, aimed at limiting the presidential power to unilaterally dissolve the government and the parliament.

"We want the president’s address to be made in a parliament which is empowered with its appropriate authority, not in a parliament whose decisions might be unilaterally overturned by the president," the speaker said.

"Our position is that the president will of course be given an opportunity to make his annual address in the parliament, but it will only happen after a decision is made on this concrete issue, or after the president and his political team (the parliamentary minority) explicitly express their positions on the issue," he added.

Under current regulations, 100 votes are required to pass any constitutional amendment. The regulation was made when the former ruling United National Movement party held 119 seats in the legislature.

Now in opposition, the United National Movement has called for uplifting the bar for passing future constitutional amendments from the current 100 votes to 113. A constitutional amendment to such extent, passed in December 2011, will not go into force until December this year.

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