3 Oct 2023 19:21

Georgian Constitutional Court hearing motion on President Zourabichvili's possible constitutional violation

TBILISI. Oct 3 (Interfax) - The Georgian Constitutional Court started hearing a motion on Tuesday by the parliamentary majority claiming that President Salome Zourabichvili violated the constitution.

If the court upholds the motion and finds that Zourabichvili violated the constitution, the parliamentary majority is determined to start an impeachment procedure against her. At the same time, the majority leaders have acknowledged that an impeachment procedure would be impossible to complete as they lack the necessary number of votes in parliament.

The parliamentary majority has claimed that the president violated Article 52 of Georgia's constitution, which stipulates that the president exercises representative powers in foreign relations, conducts negotiations with foreign states, and concludes international treaties with the government's consent.

Zourabichvili paid a number of visits to the capitals of European countries without the government's consent in August and September 2023.

Tensions between the president and the government have been rising after Zourabichvili's annual address to parliament in spring, in which she harshly criticized the government's and the parliamentary majority's foreign policy steps.

Meanwhile, lawyer Maia Kopaleishvili representing Zourabichvili's interests called on the Constitutional Court to turn down the parliamentary majority's motion as a political document that has no legal basis.

In particular, Kopaleishvili referred to Article 49 of the constitution, which stipulates that the president is the head of state, the guarantor of the country's unity and national independence, and supreme commander-in-chief, and represents Georgia in its foreign relations.

"President Zourabichvili's recent visits, which she did not receive the government's consent for, were not aimed at achieving a concrete result or concluding any agreements, which Article 52 deals with. At the same time, based on Article 49, the president is entitled to make foreign visits," Kopaleishvili said, adding that the president is continuing meetings with foreign leaders inside Georgia, which parliamentary majority members have paid no attention to.

The Constitutional Court's plenum is expected to hand down its judgment on whether the president violated the constitution on Wednesday, October 4.