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Will voting be mandatory in Georgia?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, July 30
Voting is obligatory in some countries. It is stressed in these countries that voting is not just a right. Some non-parliamentary political parties in Georgia have begun promoting this approach. This idea was probably a result of the very poor turnout in the recent local elections. These parties are going to introduce a similar amendment in the legislative body. The supporters of the idea think that such a change will result in a better election turnout.

The Georgian Dream coalition and the parliamentary opposition United National Movement have not commented on the initiative.

Voter turnout has steadily decreased. In 2004, the turnout was 64%, in 2006 it was 48%, in 2008-53%, in 2010-49%, and in 2012 the turnout increased but went down in 2013 and in 2014.

There is similar voting approach in Belgium, Greece, Italy, Argentina Brazil, Austria, Australia, Cyprus, Turkey, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Uruguay, Denmark, and Bulgaria. There are various sanctions for ignoring the obligation. Some pay penalties, some even might lose citizenship…

This initiative is supported by the Labour Party, National Democrat and Greens parties, as well as Free Georgia, Christian-Democrats, Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Georgian Patriots’ Alliance and For Fair Georgia.

So far, these parties support the idea. The list is opened to accept other supporters.

Some political entities think that obliging people to vote can be taken as a violation of human rights. However, the European Human Rights’ Court does not share this opinion. Besides, Georgian voters so far have enjoyed free will in voting, but they fail to do so. The decision made by the Georgian Dream on this issue is crucial, as without its support, the initiative will have no prospects.