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Government Backs Away from MP Increase

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 16
Some time ago it looked decided that the number of MPs in Georgian parliament would increase from 150 up to 180. The constitutional amendments were prepared and propaganda was carried out to approve this decision. However, currently it looks like the ruling majority has changed its mind and is playing another game. Some analysts explain this radical change by the appearance in the political arena of Georgian tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.

It should be mentioned from the very beginning that any increase in the number of MPs was rather unpopular among the people. Therefore, the ruling majority started to present this change as an initiative from the opposition. Besides, it is a controversial issue as the number of MPs according to the 2003 November referendum was decreased from 226 to 150. There were voices demanding that that decision by referendum should have been annulled by another referendum.

The authorities however were trying to explain that the 2003 referendum was not valid as the referendum was not held on the entire territory of the country. This created a scandal. As for the current number of 150 MPs it was divided into two portions 75+75. This division represented the number of MPs elected through majoritarian voting and proportional representation.

On November 28 just a fortnight ago the parliamentary discussions heard the position that the referendum results could not be ignored, and then on December 6 the opposition parliamentary faction the Christian-Democrats refused to support the idea of an increased number of MPs. A new idea emerged that out of the remaining figure 150 MPs there should be 83 majoritarians and 67 proportionally elected ones. It should be mentioned here the general observation of the analysts who monitor elections. It has been noted that most of the majoritarian candidates in the parliament support the ruling force. The ruling power can promote majoritarians easier using administrative resources and other means and therefore keeping the same number of MPs at 150 but increasing the number of MPs elected in the majoritarian method is to the benefit of the ruling administration. With a serious electoral threat emerging with Ivanishvili it is entirely plausible that the government has decided to back away from the increasing the size of parliament and stack things further in its favor for the elections next year. As those elections approach, the rules of the game need clarifying.