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Georgian Dream push for 40% election threshold

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, January 21
The Georgian Dream (GD) plans to increase the minimal threshold for electing the mayors of the self-government cities in the first round of voting to 40% and the heads of municipalities to 33%.

Under the existing law, a candidate who wins more votes than others, but not less than 30%, will be declared an outright winner of the Tbilisi mayoral elections.

According to Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, by the end of February, changes to the election code will be completed. The statement was made on January 20 in the hotel Radisson where Inter-faction group members are meeting with the diplomatic corps. The main topic of the meeting was the amendments planned to be made to the election legislation.

“In late February the process of making amendments to the election law should be completed. Thus, we cannot adhere to the promise that the issue would have been resolved earlier. I declare on behalf of the parliament that it is our failure, but it would be worse not to adopt the changes at all,” Usupashvili stated.

Transparency International Georgia proposes to increase the barrier to 50%. Executive Director Eka Gigauri said that democracy will be the manifestation of a higher standard if the officials are elected by a majority of the population.

“It's an initiative that was supported by the Prime Minister and the majority. We think, it is an improved version and it is important that the threshold is increased, but we cannot understand why there is talk of 40%. Various legislative acts of the changes are talking about 50%, and they were decided on the first hearing. Accordingly, we cannot understand the coalition's change of position on this particular issue. Our organization's position is that the threshold for electing mayors and the governor be moved to 50%. We think it would be more correct and in this case we speak of democracy as a higher standard,” stated Gigauri.

Member of the United National Movement (UNM) Mikheil Machavariani said that in this regard the UNM stays on its position.

“The election of mayors and governors with a threshold of 50% is just political coquetry. The 50% threshold has been written in the bill and they are now thinking about how to alter this situation,” Machavariani stressed.