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Majority refuses to change election system

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, April 21
“The government is ready to consider nearly 80% of the opposition’s demands related to the upcoming parliamentary elections, except the changes to the electoral system,” stated majority MP Giga Bukia after meeting with the inter-party group.

Bukia claims a consensus has been reached on many issues with members of the opposition. However, he says that the proposed changes to the electoral system are not planned until 2020 due to the lack of time before October.

“We are going to change the election system after the parliamentary elections of this year, so by 2020 the electoral system will be different. All the issues were taken into account. We were saying from the beginning that the election system will not be changed at this stage,” said Bukia.

The inter-party group consists of parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties, who have implemented a five-point proposal, which covers the following issues: to remove the majoritarian system from the current Georgian election code, changes in the composition of administrations, lowering of the barrier, distribution of advertising time equally for all election subjects and restrictions on using the administrative resources.

The opposition says that the results of the meeting were more negative than they expected. They are going to directly address the political Council of the Majority –Georgian Dream (GD) and appeal the verdict.

According to Mamuka Katsitadze, the leader of the New Rights party, their main proposal was to change the majoritarian election system into a proportional variant.

“The majority is not oriented towards agreeing on this issue; most of our proposals were rejected,” stated Katsitadze.

Giorgi Akhvlediani, a member of the opposition United Democratic Movement party, says that only changes in the election system can improve electoral environment.

“The majority only speaks about minor issues, but this is not going to contribute towards an improvement of the electoral environment, not until we change the system itself,” Akhvlediani noted.

The Georgian legislative body consists of 150 lawmakers who are elected through a mixed system: 73 MPs out of the 150-seat legislative body are elected from 73 single-mandate constituencies and the rest 77 by a party-list, proportional system.

With the majoritarian election system, only one MP is to be elected per constituency. With the proportional representation system, several members of Parliament are to be elected per constituency. In the second situation, parties are assigned parliamentary seats proportional to the number of votes they receive.