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Movement under ex-Parliament Chair plans to reveal new electoral model

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 8
Georgia’s ex-Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili, who now chairs the newly-established Movement for Building, has stated amid tension over the draft of the constitution that his movement plans to reveal a new model of the electoral system.

Usupashvili, who chaired Parliament under the current Georgian Dream leadership and quit the Republican Party after the 2016 parliamentary elections, stressed that the new model would “take all players’ principal positions into account but would demand small concessions from all of them.”

Usupashvili voiced his intentions before the third and final reading of the draft of the constitution in Parliament later this month, which is strongly criticized by the opposition and NGOs, and will not replace the current electoral system.

The opposition and many NGOs demand a move to fully proportional elections from 2020, while the ruling party strives to postpose the process to 2024.

The opposition also demands the fair sharing of undistributed votes, the votes received by the parties failing in elections, between the parliamentary parties, a possibility of creating election blocs and several other issues.

“The constitutional process is rushing to a very hard political ending and the international community’s open disappointment and concern cannot even help this,” Usupashvili stated.

He stressed that a “self-isolated ruling party tries stubbornly to do what it wants”.

“This does not happen because of someone is good or bad, this happens because of the current one-party system,” he said. “The ruling team failed to realize the connotation of the constitutional process and the necessity of a large-scale consensus.”

Usupashvili stressed that the current state leadership “totally changed the constitution adopted in 1995 and refused to keep what was positive in it.”

According to him, the process could provide a “huge threat for the Georgian statehood.”

He stressed that his movement would do its utmost to find a solution in order to maintain the people’s respect towards the constitution, “which is at risk now.”

Usupashvili highlighted that the Movement for Building was ready to listen to others’ “reasonable views” in the process.

The ruling party meanwhile says that it expects positive evaluation of the draft amendments by the Venice Commission, which will prepare the statement by the end of October about Georgia’s final draft constitution. Some weeks earlier, members of the majority also expressed hope that Georgia will have a “perfect constitution” stressing they intend to adopt the amendments with the third reading later this month.

The Georgian Constitution adopted in 1995 was initially changed by the United National Movement government in 2010.

After coming to power in 2012, the Georgian Dream said the constitutional changes carried out by the United National Movement caused misbalance between state institutions and required changes.

They launched the amending process in 2013 but that time they did not have enough MPs (at least 113 in the 150-member legislative body) to fulfill the process.

After the 2016 parliamentary elections the Georgian dream re-launched the constitutional process, as they now have 116 MPs in parliament.