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The News in Brief

Thursday, April 30
President Plans Conference on Electoral System Reform

President Giorgi Margvelashvili plans to organize a conference with participation of political parties and other stakeholders to discuss electoral system reform with particular focus on change of majoritarian part of the system.

The announcement was made by the president’s office after Margvelashvili met with representatives of non-parliamentary opposition and civil society representatives on April 28.

Several non-parliamentary opposition parties, among them New Rights and Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement–United Georgia, have been campaigning jointly for months, demanding reform of the majoritarian component of the election system.

Margvelashvili addressed the issue in his annual state of the nation speech in the Parliament last month saying that existing majoritarian component of electoral system should be “changed”.

His stance on the issue was further specified by his office in a press release on April 28, which reads that the President “shares the position about replacing majoritarian system with the proportional one”, meaning that Margvelashvili is for the parliament to be elected completely based on party-list, proportional system.

Speaking at the meeting with representatives of political parties and civil society, President Margvelashvili, who under the constitution has less power than the PM, said that a new system should secure the creation of a “pluralistic political environment.”

Georgia has a mixed system in which 73 lawmakers in the 150-seat Parliament are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies, and the remaining 77 seats are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties, which clear a 5% threshold.

The size of single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies vary from each other by number of voters – ranging from over 150,000 voters in the largest one to less than 6,000 voters in the smallest one. OSCE-led international election monitoring missions have been repeatedly raising this issue in their election monitoring reports noting that such huge discrepancy in size of single-mandate constituencies undermines equality of vote.

Opponents of the existing system argue that it can potentially produce a distribution of seats in Parliament different from those reflected in proportional, party-list election results.

The difference between the distribution of seats and votes received in party-list contests was obvious in the previous Parliament, when then ruling UNM party was holding over 79% of seats although receiving slightly over 59% of the votes in the 2008 parliamentary elections. That was because UNM at the time won all but four single-mandate majoritarian constituencies across the country.

But it was not the case in the 2012 elections, when overall seats won by Georgian Dream coalition and UNM, both in majoritarian and proportional contests, mainly matched the share of votes they won in the party-list contest.

A mismatch, however, was evident in the 2014 local elections for Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo), where a similar system was applied, when although receiving 46% of votes in party-list contest, GD gained 74% of seats in Tbilisi Sakrebulo because of winning all but one single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies of the capital city.

The scrapping of the majoritarian system will require a constitutional change, which needs support of at least 113 MPs. If the decision is made to keep the system, but to reform it by addressing existing disparity between single-mandate constituencies, it may require amending only the election code without introducing changes in the constitution. (

Georgia’s Ambassador to India meets Georgian tourists in Nepal

Levan Nizharadze, Georgia’s Ambassador to India, also accredited in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, met with Georgian tourists in Nepal on April 28.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Levan Nizharadze arrived in Kathmandu yesterday and held meetings in the Nepalese UN Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Nepal. The situation in the country hit by earthquake was discussed at the meetings.

The Interior Ministry once again confirmed that no Georgian citizens were injured during the earthquake.

The ambassador will meet another group of Georgian tourists soon. (IPN)

PM Meets Supreme Court Chairperson

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili met with judges and Chairperson of the Supreme Court at the Supreme Court on April 28.

At the extended meeting the participants discussed the draft bill regarding the third stage of the reforms as well as financial issues.

“I had a very interesting talk with the judges. We fully share the approaches and have a common vision of how to develop the court, how to become even more independent, impartial, and most importantly, absolutely transparent. Our main task is to strengthen the population’s credibility to the judiciary. We also talked about financial issues, such as the financial provision of judges. It’s of utmost importance the judges to feel themselves protected,” PM Gharibashvili told reporters after the meeting.

After the extended meeting, the Premier held a face-to-face meeting with Supreme Court Chairperson Nino Gvenetadze.

Prime Minister said that he is optimistic that Nino Gvenetadze will be able to increase the public confidence towards the court. (Frontnews)