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Opposition demands ‘German-based’ electoral system

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Tuesday, November 26
Opposition parties have demanded that the ruling Georgian Dream party agree to hold the next elections with a German-based system.

Following a meeting on November 25 at the Labor Party's office, Giorgi Vashadze, the leader of the New Georgia Party, introduced the general position of parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties to the media. According to him, the system proposed by the opposition provides for proportional distribution of votes and maintenance of the majoritarian system, though in multi-mandate constituencies.

According to Vashadze, there will be six, seven or eight mandates, each voter will have one vote and no political force will be able to seize power.

According to Giorgi Vashadze, this system will not allow the Georgian Dream to manipulate: “If the party gets 25%, it will have 25% of MPs. If it gets 40%, they will have 40% of MPs and so on.”

The opposition claims that this model fully complies with the Georgian constitution, expresses public opinion, prefers a proportional system and it also takes into account Georgian reality.

According to Giorgi Vashadze, the opposition-drafted document, which is also being passed on to international organizations, is ready for initiation and approval in parliament by just 76 votes, not the constitutional majority.

"This is a very easy way out for Georgia to overcome the catastrophic electoral system that exists in the country today," Giorgi Vashadze said. According to him, all the constitutionalists who have spoken with him clearly say that this model is in full compliance with the Georgian Constitution.

“The Parliament session will be held peacefully only when our demand is met. If Parliament adopts this law, it will have no problem with picketing,” said Vashadze at a briefing following a meeting of opposition leaders.

Representatives of opposition political parties and civil activists resumed protest rally outside parliament yesterday evening demanding a change in the electoral system. Parliamentary picketing was still planned.

On November 18, police forces dispersed a picketing action using water cannon and arrested 37 people on charges of resistance. The protests began after parliament failed to approve a draft constitutional amendment initiated by a majority of the Georgian Dream on November 14, which sought a transition to a proportional electoral system for the next parliamentary elections, instead of 2024, as the constitution prescribes.

The bill was supported by 101 lawmakers against three, while it needed at least 113 votes. The session was attended by 141 MPs. Members of parliament who voted against or did not vote are the members of the Georgian Dream.

The Georgian Dream has agreed to abolish the majoritarian system for the next 2020 elections as a result of anti-occupation protests that began on June 20, one of the demands of which was to move to a proportional electoral system.

Following an unsuccessful vote in parliament, civic activists and opposition parties accused the Georgian Dream and its chairman, Bidzina Ivanishvili, of cheating people and started rallies in front of the Parliament building.