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Writing fair rules for the next election

By M. Alkhazashvili
Thursday, June 26
The tiny opposition in parliament and the ruling party agreed this week that a group should come together to recommend changes to Georgiaís ever-changing election law. It is a good idea, and it is good timing: care must be taken not just with the content of the law, but the manner of its passing.

Observers chastised the government for rushing through the latest batch of election amendments; they were passed, unilaterally, just weeks before the May parliamentary elections. The system they introduced was, in practice, lopsided, and gave the ruling party eight in ten seats after winning 60 percent of the vote.

Realistically, the government could now write and pass any law it wants. But to its credit, the majority has so far shown great care not to abuse their overwhelming advantage in parliament, handling the opposition with kid gloves.

That attitude should stay when they draw up the rules for Georgiaís next election. There will be plenty of time to consider possible reforms, like direct elections for mayors and overhauls to the appeals process. Donít rush it, and donít ignore dissent.