About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
Opposition Outcry over Majoritarian MP Election Rule
/ 4 Mar.'08 / 19:07
Civil Georgia

Parliament passed with its first hearing a package of constitutional amendments, one of which controversially reintroduces an election system allowing for 75 majoritarian MPs.

The package, which was passed with 168 votes to two, envisages scrapping the system of electing majoritarian MPs through the winner-takes-all rule and replacing it with one wherein one majoritarian lawmaker will be elected from each of the 75 constituencies.

If approved on the second and third hearings, the number of majoritarian MPs in the new parliament will increase from 50 – as currently mandated in the constitution – to 75 and those elected through the proportional party-list system will go from 100 to 75.

Opposition lawmakers have condemned the proposal with some even threatening to resume protest rallies.

“There will again be street protest rallies and tents,” MP Kakha Kukava of the Conservative Party, part of the eight-party opposition coalition, told Civil.Ge after the vote. “No further negotiations will take place [with the ruling party].”

He said Nino Burjanadze, the parliamentary chairperson, was “a liar” because the ruling party had retracted its initial pledge to endorse the opposition-supported so-called ‘regional proportional lists’ for electing majoritarian MPs.

Regional proportional lists allow parties or election blocs to nominate several candidates in each constituency (the number of seats available would depend on the size of the constituency). Fifty majoritarian seats in the parliament, with this system, would be allocated proportionally, based on the votes received by parties in a particular constituency. The system entails setting an election threshold and would preclude independent candidates, as all candidates must be nominated by a party or an election bloc.

Initially, it seemed that this system had received the backing of the ruling party. In its February 14 memorandum issued in response to opposition demands, the party said: “If there is consensus between the political forces, the majoritarian election system will be replaced by the regional proportional system. Relevant draft constitutional amendments have already been initiated and assuming consensus, the amendments will be in force by the end of March.”

However, the majority of sitting majoritarian lawmakers, many of whom are seen to be ruling party loyalists, moved to defend the system that secured their election in 2003 and pushed for the relevant amendment. Although officially not a ruling party initiative, opposition lawmakers have alleged that the party’s hidden hand was behind it.

While regional proportional lists would have improved the opposition's prospects, the system proposed now significantly reduces their chances.

At a joint news conference following the vote, the Conservative and Movement for United Georgia parties - both opposition bloc members - and the Industrialists, New Rights and Republican parties, pledged to coordinate activities to prevent the amendment gaining final approval.

“Saakashvili's weakling regime, which is not recognized by the Georgian people, has again committed a crime,” MP Levan Gachechiladze, leader of the eight-party opposition coalition, said at the news conference. “It is an attempt to steal the parliamentary elections… They have breached previous agreements… We will confront this with a united opposition front.”

As well as President Saakashvili, he also said Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze should assume responsibility for any consequences arising from Parliament’s March 4 decision.

“We, the opposition parties – and I hope the Labor Party also shares this position - will coordinate joint activities to confront this outrageous decision of the ruling party,” MP Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights Party, said at the news conference.

The Republican Party, which had recently quit the then nine-party opposition coalition (reducing it to eight) to run independently in the forthcoming elections, said it would reconsider its decision if the the proposed amendment is given final approval.

Latest News
01 May.'18 10:55
We Have Moved to a New Platform
Direct Your Bookmarks to https://civil.ge.
29 Apr.'18 03:54
Ruling Party Candidate Wins MP By-Elections
Givi Chichinadze will represent Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency in the Parliament of Georgia.
28 Apr.'18 09:40
Polls Open for Vani and Khoni MP By-Elections
48,123 voters are eligible to cast their ballots in Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency.
27 Apr.'18 17:23
State Dept’s Europe Affairs Point Man to Visit Tbilisi
Wess Mitchell will meet senior government officials and address the NATO-Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum.
27 Apr.'18 13:45
In Quotes: Georgian Politicians on Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Comeback
Bidzina Ivanishvili will be approved as the Georgian Dream party chairman at the upcoming convention.
26 Apr.'18 18:15
SG Jens Stoltenberg: Georgia NATO’s ‘Very Close’ Partner
The NATO Secretary General says Foreign Ministers meeting tomorrow will recognize the country’s progress.
26 Apr.'18 14:24
Ex-PM Ivanishvili to Chair Georgian Dream Party
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Ivanishvili was ‘best equipped’ to add new dynamism to the party.
26 Apr.'18 11:12
Lawmaker Proposes Criminal Liability for ‘Insult of Religious Feelings’
The parliamentary human rights committee decided to set up a working group for scrutinizing the draft law.
25 Apr.'18 17:21
New Abkhaz Government Head Appointed
Gennady Gagulia has served as the Abkhaz “prime minister” twice - in 1995-1997, and 2002-2003.
25 Apr.'18 14:43
Watchdog Improves Georgia’s Press Freedom Ranking
None of the countries of the former Soviet Union (except the Baltics) are ranked ahead of Georgia.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2019, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.