President of Georgia

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President of Georgia
საქართველოს პრეზიდენტი
Flag of the President of Georgia.svg
Salome Zourabichvili and Antonio Tajani (cropped) 2.jpg
Incumbent
Salome Zourabichvili

since 16 December 2018
ResidenceOrbeliani Palace
AppointerDirect popular vote:
  • 1991 to 2018
Electoral College:
  • 2024 onward
Term lengthEffective 1991:
  • five years
Effective 2004:
  • four years
Effective 2018:
  • six years
Effective 2024:
  • five years, renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Georgia
Inaugural holderZviad Gamsakhurdia
Formation14 April 1991
(31 years ago)
 (1991-04-14)
DeputyChairperson of the Parliament
Salary13,000 GEL per month[1][2]
WebsiteOfficial website

The president of Georgia (Georgian: საქართველოს პრეზიდენტი, romanized: sakartvelos p'rezident'i) is the ceremonial head of state of Georgia as well as the commander-in-chief of the Defense Forces. The constitution defines the presidential office as "the guarantor of the country’s unity and national independence."[3]

The president is largely a figurehead as in many parliamentary democracies. Executive power is vested in the Government and the prime minister. The office was first introduced by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia on 14 April 1991, five days after Georgia's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.[4] The president serves a five-year term.

The current president is Salome Zourabichvili. Because of Georgia's transition to a fully parliamentary system she is the last president to be elected directly by the citizens.

Qualifications[edit]

Any citizen of Georgia having the electoral right, who has attained the age of 40 and who has lived in Georgia for at least 15 years, may be elected President of Georgia.[5] The office cannot be held by a citizen of Georgia who is simultaneously the citizen of a foreign country.[6] The president of Georgia shall not be a member of a political party.[7]

Election[edit]

According to the 2018 version of Georgia's constitution, starting in 2024, the president will be elected for a five-year term by the 300-member Electoral College, consisting of all members of the Parliament of Georgia and of the supreme representative bodies of the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and Adjara, also members from the representative bodies of local-self-governments (municipalities). The same person may be elected President of Georgia only twice. No less than 30 members of the Electoral College shall have the right to nominate a candidate for the president of Georgia. The election of the president of Georgia is appointed by the Parliament for October.[8]

Impeachment[edit]

No less than one third of the total number of the members of Parliament has the right to raise the question of impeachment of the president of Georgia. They can be considered impeached if the decision is supported by at least two thirds of the members of Parliament. The procedure of the impeachment of the president is constitutionally banned during a state of emergency or martial law.[9]

Constitutional powers and duties[edit]

1. The President of Georgia shall:

a) with the consent of the Government, exercise representative powers in foreign relations, negotiate with other states and international organisations, conclude international treaties, and accept the accreditation of ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives of other states and international organisations; upon nomination by the Government, appoint and dismiss ambassadors and other heads of diplomatic missions of Georgia;

b) conclude a constitutional agreement with the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia on behalf of the state of Georgia;

c) call the elections of Parliament and local self-government bodies in accordance with the Constitution and the procedures established by the organic law;

d) upon nomination by the Government, appoint and dismiss the Commander of the Defence Forces of Georgia; appoint one member of the High Council of Justice; participate in the appointment of the chairperson and members of the Central Election Commission of Georgia in cases defined by the organic law and in accordance with the established procedure; upon nomination by the Government, submit to Parliament candidates for the membership of the national regulatory bodies;

e) decide on citizenship issues in accordance with the procedures established by the organic law;

f) pardon convicts;

g) in accordance with the procedures established by law, grant state awards and rewards; highest military ranks, special ranks and honorary titles; and highest diplomatic ranks;

h) be entitled, upon recommendation by the Government and with the consent of Parliament, to suspend the activity of a representative body of a territorial unit, or to dissolve such a body, if its activities threaten the sovereignty or territorial integrity of the country, or the exercise of constitutional powers by state bodies;

i) exercise other powers determined by the Constitution.[10]

2. The President of Georgia shall have the right to call a referendum on issues defined in the Constitution and law, at the request of the Parliament of Georgia, the Government of Georgia or no less than 200 000 voters, within 30 days after such a request is received. A referendum shall not be held in order to adopt or repeal a law, to grant amnesty or pardon, to ratify or denounce international treaties, or to decide issues that envisage the restriction of fundamental constitutional human rights. Issues related to calling and holding referendums shall be defined by the organic law.[10]

3. The President of Georgia shall have the right to address the people. The President shall annually submit a report on crucial state-related issues to Parliament.[10]

Oath[edit]

Prior to assuming office, on the third Sunday after the election day, the newly elected president of Georgia addresses the people and is required to take the following oath of office:

მე, საქართველოს პრეზიდენტი, ღვთისა და ერის წინაშე ვფიცავ, რომ დავიცავ საქართველოს კონსტიტუციას, ქვეყნის დამოუკიდებლობას, ერთიანობასა და განუყოფლობას, კეთილსინდისიერად აღვასრულებ პრეზიდენტის მოვალეობას, ვიზრუნებ ჩემი ქვეყნის მოქალაქეთა უსაფრთხოებისა და კეთილდღეობისათვის, ჩემი ხალხისა და მამულის აღორძინებისა და ძლევამოსილებისათვის.

I, the President of Georgia, do solemnly affirm before God and the nation that I will support and defend the Constitution of Georgia, the independence, unity and indivisibility of the country; that I will faithfully perform the duties of the President, will care for the security and welfare of the citizens of my country and for the revival and might of my nation and homeland.[10]

Immunity[edit]

The president of Georgia enjoys immunity. No one shall have the right to detain or bring criminal proceedings against the president of Georgia while in office.[10] Security of the President of Georgia is provided by the Special State Protection Service.[11]

Standard[edit]

Standard of the President of Georgia (until 2020)

The standard is adapted from the national flag of Georgia, charged in the center with the Georgian coat of arms. Copies of the standard are used inside the president's office, at the Chancellery Building, other state agencies, and as a car flag on vehicles bearing the president within Georgian territory.[citation needed]

Flag of the president of Georgia prior to 2020

History of office[edit]

After Georgia formally seceded from the Soviet Union on 9 April 1991, the Supreme Council voted, on 14 April, to create the post of executive president, and appointed Zviad Gamsakhurdia to the office pending the holding of direct elections. In the nationwide elections to this post, on 26 May 1991, Gamsakhurdia won a landslide victory, becoming the first president of the Republic of Georgia. Gamsakhurdia was ousted in a military coup d'état on 6 January 1992. He continued to function as a president-in-exile until his death in a failed attempt to regain power on 31 December 1993.

In the post-coup absence of legitimate power, a position of the head of state was introduced for Georgia's new leader Eduard Shevardnadze on 10 March 1992. After the adoption of a new Constitution on 24 August 1995, the post of president was restored. Shevardnadze was elected to presidency on 5 November 1995, and reelected on 9 April 2000. He resigned under pressure of mass demonstrations known as Rose Revolution on 23 November 2003. After Nino Burjanadze's brief tenure as an acting president, Mikheil Saakashvili was elected on 4 January 2004. He did not serve his full first term, but voluntarily resigned to defuse tensions in the aftermath of the 2007 Georgian demonstrations and brought the presidential elections forward from the original date in autumn 2008. He was reelected on 5 January 2008. The president's executive powers were significantly curtailed in favor of the prime minister and the Government in a series of amendments passed between 2013 and 2018. After the election of Giorgi Margvelashvili to presidency in October 2013, Georgia finalized its transition to a parliamentary republic. In November 2018, Salome Zourabichvili, became Georgia's first female president in permanent capacity and, according to the new constitution, the last president to be elected by a direct vote. In view of these changes, she is set to serve a term of six years.[12]

Succession and Acting president[edit]

In the event of the president's resignation, death or impeachment the chairperson of Parliament will temporarily serve until a new president is appointed.[10] There were cases of this in Georgia in 2003 and 2007, in both cases, the president resigned prematurely and was replaced by the chairperson of parliament, before new elections were held. In both cases, the then-chairperson Nino Burjanadze became acting president; she was the only one in this position, and it can be said that she was also the first female president of the country. However, the first fully elected female president in Georgia was Salome Zourabichvili, who is still in this position.

List of presidents of Georgia[edit]

Name
(Born–Died)
Picture Took Office Left Office Time in office Party Election
1 Zviad Gamsakhurdia
(1939–1993)
Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Tbilisi, 1988.jpg 14 April 1991 6 January 1992
(Deposed)
267 days Round Table—Free Georgia 1991
The office of the president was vacant from January 6, 1992 to November 26, 1995.[a]
2 Eduard Shevardnadze
(1928–2014)
Eduard shevardnadze.jpg 26 November 1995 23 November 2003
(Forced to Resign)
7 years, 362 days Union of Citizens of Georgia 1995
2000
Nino Burjanadze
(born 1964)
Acting
Nino Burjanadze (Tbilisi, December 5, 2003).jpg 23 November 2003 25 January 2004 63 days United National Movement
3 Mikheil Saakashvili
(born 1967)
President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, March 22, 2008.jpg 25 January 2004 25 November 2007 (Resigned) 3 years, 304 days United National Movement 2004
Nino Burjanadze
(born 1964)
Acting
Nino Burjanadze (Tbilisi, December 5, 2003).jpg 25 November 2007 20 January 2008 56 days United National Movement
(3) Mikheil Saakashvili
(born 1967)
President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, March 22, 2008.jpg 20 January 2008 17 November 2013 5 years, 301 days United National Movement 2008
4 Giorgi Margvelashvili
(born 1969)
Prasidenten Margvelashvili (cropped).jpg 17 November 2013 16 December 2018 5 years, 29 days Georgian Dream 2013
5 Salome Zurabishvili
(born 1952)
Salome Zurabishvili in 2018.jpg
16 December 2018 Incumbent 3 years, 358 days Georgian Dream 2018
Notes
  1. ^ On December 22, 1991, parts of the military launched a coup d'état against the government and the president. On January 6, 1992, the government and the President were deposed and a Military Council, led by Tengiz Kitovani and Jaba Ioseliani, took power in Tbilisi. On March 10, 1992, the Military Council handed the power over to Eduard Shevardnadze, who served as acting head of state until November 26, 1995.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.transparency.ge/sites/default/files/labor-remuneration.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "Georgia increases the president's salary". Democracy & Freedom Watch. 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ Article 49, Section 1–3 of the Constitution of Georgia (country) (2018)
  4. ^ (in Georgian and Russian) The Law of the Republic of Georgia on the Introduction of the Post of President of the Republic of Georgia Archived 20 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Parliament of Georgia Archive. Accessed on 17 April 2011
  5. ^ Article 25, Section 2 of the Constitution of Georgia (country) (2018)
  6. ^ Article 50, Section 2 of the Constitution of Georgia (country) (2018)
  7. ^ Article 51, Section 4 of the Constitution of Georgia (country) (2018)
  8. ^ Article 50, Section 1–6 of the Constitution of Georgia (country) (2018)
  9. ^ Article 48, Section 1, 3, 6 of the Constitution of Georgia (country) (2018)
  10. ^ a b c d e f "საქართველოს კონსტიტუცია". სსიპ ”საქართველოს საკანონმდებლო მაცნე”.
  11. ^ History. Special State Protection Service of Georgia. Accessed on 24 April 2011
  12. ^ "Key Points of Newly Adopted Constitution". Civil Georgia. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.

External links[edit]