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New Rights Leader Says Referendum on Number of MPs Populism
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 3 Jul.'11 / 16:16

Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights Party, which has joined ruling party's electoral system reform deal, suggested that setting number of MPs through referendum was a populism. 

A key part of the electoral system reform deal, envisaging increasing number of MPs to 190, has triggered a controversy with opponents saying that such move without holding a new referendum  would contravene 2003 referendum result in which voters said seats in the Parliament should not be more than 150.

2003 referendum was "a populist and adventurous move by [then President Eduard] Shevardnadze's circle," Gamkrelidze told journalists on July 2, when he met with parliamentary speaker, Davit Bakradze, to discuss implementation of the electoral system reform deal.

"If tomorrow we ask the society what it thinks about abolishing the Parliament, almost 100% will support the idea, because at the time [in 2003] the Parliament was not a popular institution and even now an MP is not popular; so the society is always willing to downsize [the Parliament]; but we all understand very well, that the Parliament is the key institution in democracy," Gamkrelidze said.

Three years ago, when the authorities and opposition were in confrontation over electoral system, Gamkrelidze was voicing a strong opposition against suggestion to increase number of MPS, calling the idea "absurd."

Gamkrelidze said on March 10, 2008: "It is absurd and not a single opposition party would agree to it. That would mean saying no to the [2003] referendum results.”

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