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Constitution Commission to discuss election code amendments

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 16
Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili has stated that the State Constitutional Commission and its relevant group will discuss the planned amendments to the Constitution concerning the election reform planned for 2016 and after 2016.

The statement was made by the Speaker, who is the head of the State Constitutional Commission, at the Parliament's bureau session on September 14.

Consideration of the bill by the Constitutional Commission was requested by opposition MP Sergo Ratiani. He said the commission had not been working at all.

Davit Usupashvili accused representatives of political parties of inactiveness in the commission.

"It is good that you demanded something with regards to the Commission, since you have not done this for two years; you, except for few representatives of your party who really work very well, have not paid any attention to it, he said.

The constitutional amendments concerning the elections will take effect after the 2016 elections, if adopted.

A discussion of the amendments by the commission has been requested by President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

He appealed to the commission to reveal its position over postponing the major election amendments after 2016.

The opposition parties in Georgia claim that the postponement is in the interests of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition and affects the opposition chances in the upcoming 2016 parliamentary race.

The Georgian Dream ruling coalition has initiated constitutional changes to scrap the majoritarian component of the electoral system for the elections that will take place after the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, a group of parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties are launching a campaign to collect the signatures of 200,000 citizens required for initiating a counter bill for constitutional changes to scrap the majoritarian part of the electoral system before the 2016 parliamentary elections.

Georgia currently has a mixed system in which 73 lawmakers are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies through plurality vote, and rest 77 seats are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties, which clear 5% threshold.

The GD coalition offers the threshold to decrease to 4%.

It will be hard both the opposition and for the coalition to push their initiatives, as the majority requires more votes than it has in parliament and on its part the minority also needs the majority support.

The GD ruling coalition has 86 seats in 150-member parliament, 27 short of the three-fourths super-majority required to pass a constitutional amendment.

As the process is lingering it is very likely Georgia to hold the following elections through the system we enjoy currently with some minor amendments.