Talks Planned on How to Revise Electoral System
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Dec.'11 / 12:59

Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary speaker, called on the parties, which were part of electoral system reform deal signed in summer, to meet on Monday in order to take final decision whether they would further pursue their original agreement on increasing seats in the next parliament from 150 to 190 or not.

“It is needed to clarify as soon as possible whether the number of MPs will be increased in the next Parliament or not; if we are not increasing number of seats – I personally have nothing against of that – we should think over new mechanisms that would secure stronger opposition representation in the Parliament,” Bakradze said.

He called on the parties, which were part of the electoral system reform deal, to launch talks on possible new electoral system at 2pm local time on Monday in his presence in the Parliament

“Any such new mechanism should be a result of agreement between the parties and I call on all the parties, which were part of this agreement, to discuss the issue so that to have a final agreement by the end of the day,” Bakradze said.

The parties, which joined the electoral system reform deal, have already indicated about the intention to drop initial controversial plan to increase number of seats in the next Parliament, but new proposal on how to split seats between MPs elected in majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies and those elected through party-list, proportional system has yet to be agreed. The original plan involved increasing number of majoritarian MPs from 75 to 83 and number of MPs elected through party-list from current 75 to 107.

But if the overall number of MPs remains at its current level of 150, the ruling party will still demand increasing of number of majoritarian MPs to 83, which would automatically lead to downsizing number of MPs elected through party-list system from current 75 to 67, a senior ruling party lawmaker, Pavle Kublashvili, said.

The existing system, wherein seats in 150-member parliament are evenly split between majoritarian and party-list MPs (75/75), is believed to be benefiting the ruling party taking into account the winner-takes-all rule of electing majoritarian MPs in the single-mandate constituencies.

Increasing only number of majoritarian MPs from 75 to 83 would even further benefit the ruling party.

Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in a small parliamentary minority group, has already spoken out against such proposal of the ruling party. MP Levan Vepkhvadze of CDM said that any new system should allocate seats between majoritarian MPs and lawmakers elected through party-list system in a way that would not damage the latter.

New Rights Party leader, Davit Gamkrelidze, who is among the parties which joined the electoral system reform deal this summer, said that increasing number of majoritarian MPs, while downsizing party-list representation would have “disastrous consequences” for the opposition parties.

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