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50% election threshold

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 19
According to the Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili’s initiative, there will be a 50% threshold for the election of mayors and heads of local administrations (gamgebelis) during the upcoming local self-government elections.

This is an amendment desired by all oppositional entities during the previous election. This amendment represents a revolutionary step in the election environment. It means that mayors and gamgebelis must collect 50% +1 votes to qualify for the position.

During the previous United National Movement (UNM) administration, the threshold was 30%. Therefore, it easily secured the victory of the ruling party representatives, as it was simple to collect 30% +1.

The 50% threshold was one of the main demands of the non-parliamentary opposition and NGOs. However, on February 17, PM Gharibashvili convinced the Georgian Dream members on introducing 50% threshold. This decision will further be adopted by the parliament.

The Georgian Dream coalition leaders welcomed the proposed changes, although refrained from giving a forecast whether this change would require a second round in different election districts or not.

Parliamentary Chairperson, Davit Usupashvili commented saying that such a forecast would be possible to make just two or three weeks prior of the elections. So, in this case, if neither of the candidates collects 50% of the votes, the two candidates with the best results will run in the second round. This will definitely increase the legitimacy of the elected mayors and gamgabelis.

The non-parliamentary opposition considers these proposed changes a victory, and a result of their collective efforts alongside NGOs and their international partners.

Initially the Georgian Dream coalition suggested a 40% threshold. However, the opposition insisted on 50%.

The opposition representatives are pleased because of this amendment. It provides the opposition an additional incentive to unite their efforts in their run for the position of mayor and gamgebelis with a united candidate.

The local elections, which will be held in late spring-early summer, might result in interesting surprises for the Georgian population.