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New amendments to the Election Code of Georgia introduced

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, March 3
The draft amendments to the Election Code will be submitted to the Parliament of Georgia. The draft was developed by a working group in consultation with local non-governmental organizations and western partners. Aleko Elisashvili and Levan Ioseliani from the Citizens party said that the agreement with the ruling party on the changes to the election code pushed them to take up their mandates. Shalva Papuashvili, a member of the majority of the Georgian Dream, stated about it at a briefing with one of the leaders of Citizens Levan Ioseliani.

According to the project, the share of proportionally elected members in municipal councils will increase. In particular, in self-governing cities - Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, Poti, Batumi - there will be four proportionally elected members for every majoritarian member, and in other municipalities, there will be two proportionally elected members for every majoritarian member;

The central and district levels of the election administration will be staffed with 8 professional and 9 party members under the principle of parity (1 party 1 member); electronic voter registration and ballot counting system will be introduced; It will be prohibited to draw up an amendment protocol by the Precinct Election Commission after sealing the documentation of the precinct and to draw up an amendment protocol by the district commission without opening the documentation and counting the ballot papers;

Regardless of whether there will be a complaint, in all 73 constituencies, 5-5 precincts will be identified and counted by random sampling. A total of 365 precincts or random recount of 10% of polling stations will be introduced, no matter if there are complaints or not; The terms for submitting complaints and their discussions will be extended;

It will be possible to file a complaint online and to appeal the refusal of the CEC to make a violation report to the court.

It will be prohibited to gather people and register voters within a radius of 100 meters from the polling station; The circle of public servants who are prohibited from participating in pre-election agitation will be expanded and it will not be allowed to gather public servants on a pre-election basis for pre-election agitation.

The draft will be sent to the Venice Commission and the ODIHR for a joint conclusion.

The issue of the election threshold remains open at this stage. According to Papuashvili, they are ready to consider lowering the election threshold from 5% to a maximum of 3% provided by the Constitution, if the number of deputies required to make a constitutional change enters the parliament.

Papuashvili called on parties that refuse to participate in parliamentary work to put aside personal and partisan interests, enter Parliament, and "do not miss the process of implementing this very important reform for our country."

Constitutional amendments require at least 113 votes. 96 out of 150 deputies are participating in the parliament of the 10th convocation. Parliamentarians elected from 6 more opposition blocs and parties demanded the termination of their power in protest of the rigging of the 2020 elections, which was not granted by the parliament. 6 of 8 opposition parties which have been demanding repeat parliamentary elections since November, took to the street again last week following the arrest of the head of the United National Movement opposition party Nika Melia.