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Parliament Speaker does not exclude possibility of delay for proportional elections

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 20
On June 19, Speaker of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze stated that the Georgian government expressed its readiness to fully consider the recommendations put forward by the Venice Commission regarding the constitutional amendments.

According to him, discussions will continue in Parliament and the Venice Commission will publish its final report on the amendments in October this year, by the time the Parliament adopts the amendments.

“Thus we’ve kept our promise to the Georgian Society,” said Kobakhidze at a briefing on Monday.

However, Speaker of Parliament does not rule out that moving the country to fully proportional elections may be delayed until the 2024 parliamentary race.

He also accused the opposition parties of not supporting “healthy consultations” over the topic.

“I can’t say anything beforehand. The consultations are still in progress and a final decision will be made,” Kobakhidze said.

Opposition members have argued that dragging out the process is only in the interests of the ruling team, as generally, ruling teams benefit from majoritarian elections.

Today, 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.

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

Rejecting the majoritarian model 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, now it says that the proposed amendment, which was promised by the Georgian Dream ahead of the 2012 Parliamentary elections, might not be implemented earlier than 2024 parliamentary elections.