Election legislation curiosity box
By Messenger Staff
Friday, April 27Georgian election legislation is a curiosity box. The administration regularly declares its commitment to fair and democratic elections, and has been busy re-writing the law in a way it says reflects that – by lowering the age at which one can be elected to Parliament, and attempting to create a gender balance, for example.
Parliament, with much enthusiasm, adopted a constitutional change to its age limit. Now, a Georgian citizen may serve as an MP at the age of 21, down from where it previously stood at 25. Supporters of this change say that young people will be given a greater opportunity to represent themselves and their communities in Parliament. Those against the move say that this will weaken Parliament with inexperience, incompetence and a lack of responsibility and maturity. Both camps can point to countries where the age to serve in elected office is higher or lower than Georgia. Some analysts have recommended that the country adopt a two chamber Parliament, in which one chamber has a much higher age requirement – such as in Canada. Others believe that if such a system is created, it should reflect local or regional culture, rather than merely age diversity.
Now there is a new suggestion, in which the voting age may be lowered from 18 to 16. So in the future, 21-year-old MPs could be elected by 16-year-old teenagers! Right now, it is unlikely that most 21-year-olds would qualify for Parliament – however, lowering the voting age could considerable influence the results of the election. Right now, it's a bit early to call in whose favour that would work.