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Georgian Dream Supports Girchi Initiative to Remove Gender Quotas from Election Code

By Liza Mchedlidze
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Girchi has proposed an initiative to amend the election code by eliminating all legal provisions that require the consideration of gender quotas when compiling candidate lists. Specifically, the party is calling for the complete removal of Article 203 from the law, which mandates parties to adhere to gender quotas in parliamentary lists.

According to the initiators, the gender quota mechanism constitutes a restriction for both political parties and for the representatives of the gender for whom this norm was created to empower.

"The formation of political party lists based on gender lacks logical content; with such artificial intervention, women's involvement in politics will never take a serious form. The purpose of the bill is to assist women in politics in avoiding the reputational damage caused by quotas. Gender-based quotas further reinforce existing stereotypes against women, making it difficult to perceive them as proper political players." Girchi's statement reads.

The proposed amendments in the bill will be backed by the ruling party. During the Bureau session, discussions centered on a meeting between Girchi and the majority leaders, where Georgian Dream fully endorsed the changes. Beka Davituliani highlighted that, in exchange, the ruling party received a commitment from Girchi to prioritize "professionalism and conscientiousness" in the process of electing the chairman of the CEC.

The bureau supported the notion that the changes should be considered in an accelerated manner this week. Girchi leader Iago Khvichia also urged the opposition to lend their support to the initiative.

As per the current election code, ratified by the Parliament on July 2, 2020, parties are mandated to include candidates of both genders in their proportional lists, ensuring that every fourth candidate is of a different gender.

The deputy of the parliamentary majority, Vice-Speaker of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze, clarified Georgian Dream's backing of Girchi's proposal to eliminate gender quotas in electoral lists. He emphasized that Georgian Dream will ensure substantial representation of women in the list.

"As the ruling party, our support for women's involvement in politics and their participation will not weaken; on the contrary, this support will increase in the future.

Regarding this opposition initiative, I would like to present some arguments to our society. First - when we adopted the principle of quotas at the time, we stated that it was a temporary measure, and its necessity would expire at some point.

Secondly, while this change would be supported and accepted, any political party has complete freedom to include more women in its party list.

The stance of Georgian Dream is that it will ensure significant representation of women in the next parliamentary list.

Thirdly, within Georgian Dream, we have already established a strong and successful women's organization, which unites many accomplished women involved in politics throughout the country. Their voices are heard louder, and their participation is substantially higher today than in the past. Actually, for us, this change is not so important that we would block this initiative from the opposition.

In addition, as you know, in order to conduct the elections in a neutral and transparent manner, it is necessary to reach an agreement between the majority and the opposition regarding the candidacy of the CEC chairman. Therefore, the first priority today is to achieve as wide a consensus as possible in the process of staffing the CEC. Girchi has already expressed its position that it will be part of this consensus," said Talakvadze.