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Supporting introduction of proportional election system

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, June 6
Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze says that he supports the replacement of the majoritarian election system (wherein MPs are elected by direct voting) and with a proportional variant (in which parties receive the number of MP mandates proportional to the votes it gathered in the election).

Kobakhidze said that there is a serious contradiction within the majority Georgian Dream (GD) over the issue.

“However, there is a resource for the consensus and it is necessary to work on it,” he added.

The Speaker explains that due to the current election system - which combines both the majoritarian and proportional systems - during the 25 years of Georgia’s independence, there have been two cases when the ruling party formed a constitutional majority and established semi-authoritarian and then authoritarian regimes.

“Therefore, this is my subjective position and the viewpoint of the MPs. It is necessary to move to proportional electoral system,” Kobakhidze underlined.

He also added that the members of the ruling party do not have a united position over the dates of changing the rule of the President’s elections.

However, the Speaker himself reiterated that if the country has a parliamentarian system, the president should be elected indirectly.

“The indirect elections will surely be introduced but there are discussions over the dates, when this system should be launched…so the discussions over the issue are still underway,” Kobakhidze says.

The Speaker also added that next week Parliament will start discussions on the constitutional project. According to him, the nationwide public discussions over the constitution amendments, which lasted a month, have ended.

He said that parliamentary committee hearings will be held, and only afterwards parliamentary plenary hearings will be conducted.

Furthermore, Kobakhidze says the parliamentary plenary hearings over the issue will be launched only after the Venice Commission publishes its final conclusion over the constitutional amendments of Georgia.

“Therefore, we will have to summon an extra session and hold a discussion. Afterwards we will launch committee discussion which will be followed by plenary sessions,” the Speaker stated.