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Leading team against rejecting majoritarian elections

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, June 16
Majority leader Archil Talakvadze says that the ruling team is not unanimous over the decision abolish the majoritarian elections, as was written in the recently drafted constitutional amendments.

Talakvadze also confirmed that the change over the majoritarian race, which generally gives benefits to the ruling party in the parliamentary elections, may be rejected for the 2024 parliamentary elections and not for the next elections in 2020.

Georgia has a mixed electoral system, through which voters can cast two ballots – one for a party in a nationwide vote, and another for a specific candidate in a respective single-member constituency.

73 lawmakers in 150-member legislative body are elected from 73 single-member districts, known as “majoritarian” mandates, and 77 seats are distributed among parties, which clear 5% threshold in nationwide vote.

Rejecting of the majoritarian part of the elections has been long demanded by the NGOs and the opposition.

In the draft of the constitutional amendments, which has now been sent to the Venice Commission for recommendations, the ruling team initiated the rejection of the majoritarian model.

However, the Georgian Dream leading team also wrote that the party that would gain the first place in the parliamentary elections would receive the so-called undistributed mandates, the mandates which are calculated from the votes that were received by the parties which fail to overcome the mandatory 5% threshold.

The ruling team claims that this is a “bonus” for the victorious party, while, for now, undistributed mandates are equally shared between the parties which appear in the legislative body.

The NGOs and the civil sector strongly stand against the “bonus”, and state that introducing the bonus system would be tantamount to maintaining the majoritarian elections.

Talakvadze says the ruling team is now waiting for the recommendations of the Venice Commission.

The ruling team vowed that “no change would be put in the amended constitution that would be opposed by the Commission”.

The preliminary recommendations of the Venice Commission have already been spread by the media, which also dislikes the concept over the sharing of undistributed mandates.

The final version of the recommendations will allegedly be aired at the end of June.