The messenger logo

Battle for majoritarian seats crucial

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, August 15
Here in Georgia throughout 20 years of independence, all past ruling administrations would simply adjust the majoritarian elections procedures to its liking. The majoritarian districts are distributed and divided not equally but according to the division inherited from the Soviet period. There are districts which have more than one-hundred thousand voters and other districts comprised of only 4,000 voters. Despite the recommendations of the Venice Commission to change this inequality, absolutely nothing has been done to change it.

The current administration does not agree to decrease the number of majoritarians and will not change the rule for majoritarians. For instance, the opposition asked to elect majoritarians according to the principle of 50% +1 vote. But existing law allows one to achieve victory with 30% +1 vote. This is a model that allows the ruling administration to feel very comfortable, as its voters can easily accumulate 30% of the votes, whereas the opposition is divided between many.

So the general model entails the ruling power mobilizing all its sources to secure victory for the majoritarian MPs. A good example is the current situation in parliament: out of 75 majoritarian seats, 71 belong to the ruling power. Voting for majoritarian candidates has its distinct specifics. The proportional elections put forward a party program and list, as well as a leader. The majoritarian approach puts forward sympathy or antipathy towards the candidate. So far, the ruling power used very simple technology. The ruling power mostly selects as a majoritarian candidate a person who is well known in the region. He is usually a local businessman who employs locals in his business and carries out charity activities, so mostly this model works– the local population votes for the local “champion”.

The ruling power exercises the same strategy today. The situation with the Georgian Dream opposition coalition is different. In some of the districts they submitted candidates which are quite well known in the country but have no connection with the local population, but they are suppose to run for the majoritarian seats. The ruling national movement submits the candidate for the majoritarian seats– persons who because of their high rank, where always known to the population. Besides, they all have access to administrative resources. The opposition Georgian Dream refuses to coordinate the selection of majoritarian candidates with other opposition parties.

The final list for the majoritarian should be submitted to the central election commission by September 1 and then it will become clear who has more chances to win the majoritarian seats.