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“High election threshold”

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, May 9
“The electoral threshold in Georgia is the highest among the allowable barriers,” constitutionalist Vakhushti Menabde said at the general public discussion of the constitutional amendments several days ago.

He stressed that the result of the 5% threshold is that every fifth citizen does not have a representative in Parliament.

He added that the amendments should have provided the best possible representation.

"The electoral system is very important, as in a classical parliamentary republic introduced by the proposed amendments; parliamentary elections are the only and main tool for determining the type of a political system.

“If we have an electoral system that provides extra concentration of power, then we will not have a democratic pluralist system. If the elections provide balance, then we will have balanced democratic governance. Parliamentary elections in a parliamentary republic are the first and last threshold against the concentration of power - we have no other instrument," Menabde said.

He also pointed out that the proposed amendments do not give appropriate powers to the parliamentary minority.

The changes that have been adopted by a specially-created Constitutional Commission and are being discussed in public by a special group before the final vote in Parliament retains the 5% election threshold and also bans political parties from creating election blocs before the elections.

The amendments also dictate that all undistributed votes - those votes which were received by parties which failed to overcome the threshold - must go to the party which comes in first place in the elections.

Appropriately, the mandates calculated from the votes would be in the hands of the winner and will not be proportionally distributed between all the parties which appear in Parliament.

As generally happens in Georgia, unless it makes fatal mistakes a ruling party takes the most seats in parliament.

It there was a lower election threshold in last year’s parliamentary elections, more opposition parties would appear in the legislative body.

Retaining the five percent threshold and banning election blocs would enable different political parties to join their forces, and make a legislative body once again composed of two or three political parties.