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Georgian Dream 40% threshold for Mayors

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, January 20
The Georgian Dream wants to raise the threshold for the municipal elections. The coalition thinks that 40% of the total votes will be an appropriate barrier for the candidates. Meanwhile, the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition members demand a 50% threshold and stress that the coalition has decreased the threshold in order to create a “convenient environment” for its candidate.

Through a new bill passed by the parliament with its first reading in December, the mayors of 12 towns in Georgia will be elected directly, as well as the heads of municipalities across the country.

Under the current legislation, a candidate that wins more votes than the others, but not less than 30%, will be declared the outright winner of the Tbilisi mayoral race. It should be noted that during the local elections in 2010, the political parties that are currently part of the coalition now, had demanded a 50% threshold. However, at the time, the United National Movement (UNM) did not take the appeal into account and the 30% barrier was set.

The Georgian Dream MP Davit Saganelidze claims that raising the threshold from 30% to 40% would be an “optimal choice” if it is confirmed by the legislative body.

Fellow coalition MP Ani Mirotadze said that setting a 40% barrier is quite enough for a worthy candidate to gain victory.

“I know that our political opponents were demanding a 50% threshold, but we are increasing the threshold to 40%, and think that the barrier is quite sufficient,” Mirotadze said.

Davit Narmania, who is currently the Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, responded that his support would be much more than 40%.

UNM MP Mikheil Machavariani claims that the majority is trying to decrease not increase the threshold.

“The draft on local governance says that the threshold is 50%. Now, the coalition is trying to change the norm,” Machavariani emphasized, noting that during the second reading of the draft the norm cannot be modified.

However, Georgian Dream MP Vakhtang Khmaladze stressed that through the regulation the written threshold might be reduced or increased during the second reading of the draft.

Representative of the non-parliamentary opposition party Free Georgia, Kakha Kukava, shares the vision that a 40% threshold is profitable for the coalition.

“Narmania has a zero rating, and the coalition is trying its best for to ensure his victory,” Kukava states.

Fellow member of the non-parliamentary opposition party Georgia Troupe, Jondi Baghaturia, keeps demanding a 50% threshold.

“The winning candidate should have support of half of population at least,” Baghaturia said.