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Government silences over election code amendments

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 4
Non-governmental organizations and several political parties have appealed to the legislative body to put amendments in the election code.

More precisely they are demanding changes in the majoritarian mode of elections and moving to a proportional one.

The people refer to the parliament to timely attend to the issue, while the majority representatives are against the absolute modifications in the current election system.

The government that had promised such amendments in the pre-election period has remained rather silent.

Head of the Transparency International Georgia, Eka Gigauri, stresses that the state leadership must keep its promise and ensure fair elections in 2016.

In case of a refusal, the NGOs intend to use other measures and gain public support for fulfilling their goal.

The majoritarian party member Gia Zhorzholiani believes that the amendment should be put in the constitutional note without the interference of the constitutional court, and the note should regulate number of voters at different election districts.

Fellow majority MP Manana Kobakhidze states that people should settle the issue, and she does not exclude the holding of a referendum.

The non-parliamentary opposition National-Democrats stress that the majoritarian elections are in the interests of the ruling team, as through the current system they have a better chance to retain power.

Professor Nodar Papukashvili believes that the banning of the majoritarian elections is not an outcome.

“The fact that the parties with lower ratings have a minimal chance to win the majoritarian elections and at the same time want to find themselves in parliament should not be the reason for rejecting the majoritarian elections.”

He stresses that one of the arguments for those who are against the system is that the majoritarian deputies are less known for people.

“I would say that those people, who stand behind their parties and appear at parliament through the proportional party lists are rather less known for voters,” professor Papukashvili says.

“The problem is that there is no legal lever that would force the majoritarian MPs meet their own obligations,” the Professor suggests.

Currently, Georgia has a mixed system in which 73 lawmakers in 150-seat Parliament are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies under the plurality voting rule and rest 77 seats are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties, which clear a 5% threshold.

The size of sine-mandate, majoritarian constituencies vary from each other by number of voters – ranging from over 150,000 voters in the largest one to less than 6,000 voters in the smallest one.