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Parliament to discuss constitutional draft and amendments to Election Code at the autumn session

By Inga Kakulia
Tuesday, August 27
The Parliament of Georgia will officially resume its activities next week. According to the regulations, the autumn session of Parliament opens on the first Tuesday of September.

As part of the fall session, the legislative body will have to make several important staff decisions, hold hearings of Supreme Court judges and select 20 of them.

However, the Parliament should also hear the annual reports, which were adjourned at the Spring Session. They include the annual reports of the Prime Minister, the Public Defender, the Prosecutor General, and the Audit Office. Mamuka Bakhtadze's hearing at the spring session was postponed due to the events on June 20, While the Attorney General's hearing was likely postponed due to his Supreme Court participation in the selection of judges.

Parliament will have to discuss the draft constitution and the amendments to the Election Code at this autumn session. Constitutional amendments, which include the abolition of the majoritarian system from the 2020 parliamentary elections, the transition to the proportional system and the holding of zero-bar elections, have already been initiated, and the initiative for the amendments to the Electoral Code is planned for early October.

The Georgian Dream presented the draft amendments to the Election Code to parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition and non-governmental organizations in early August, but the draft was supposed to be readjusted for the autumn session.

According to the initial version prepared by the ruling team, the changes referred to the rules for staffing election commissions, advertising time, anti-advertisement placement, state funding of parties. Specifically, the project aimed to change the party funding system and the party that would receive at least one mandate is supposed to receive funding following the votes cast. Besides, with the amendments, free airtime would be equally distributed among political parties and it will be inadmissible for one party to transfer its time to another party.

According to the amendments, the Central Election Commission (CEC), as well as lower-level election commissions, will be composed of 13 members, seven of whom will be nominated by political parties. Also, the registration of the party for the 2020 elections will be possible with the signature of 5,000 supporters.

Amendments also cover the pre-election period and stress that the anti-advertisement prepared by a political party shall not exceed 25 percent of the advertisement. Also, the broadcaster is prohibited from airing such pre-election advertisements on television and radio, the content of which is contrary to the requirements of Georgian law.

According to the regulations, the fall session will close on the third Friday of December.