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Alasania Slams Planned Increase of Seats in Parliament
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 14 Nov.'11 / 18:44

The authorities’ intention to increase number of lawmakers from current 150 to 190 is “against the Georgian people’s will” and should “be opposed jointly by everyone,” Irakli Alasania, the leader of Our Georgia-Free Democratic (OGFD) party, said on November 14.

Procedures have been launched by the Parliament last week to pave the way for a constitutional amendment, which will increase number of seats in the Parliament, elected in the next elections, scheduled for October, 2012.

The proposal is one of the key parts of an electoral system reform deal, signed by the ruling National Movement party and the parliamentary minority groups on June 27. The deal was rejected by some opposition parties, including OGFD.
“That is a decision, which Georgia does not need… That is a decision, which I think should be opposed jointly by everyone. We are against of this decision which is in conflict with the decision of the Georgian people,” he said referring to 2003 referendum which in which voters said number of MPs should not be more than 150.

“This decision is against the interests of the country,” Alasania said, standing outside the Parliament building.

He also said that the increase of number of MPs would cause additional expenses worth of “tens of millions of Lari”, which would have been much better to spend on infrastructure projects in the regions. 
Tbilisi-based watchdog, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, calculated that adding of 40 seats in the Parliament will result into increase of expenses allocated for salaries, bonuses and other expenses (communications) for forty additional lawmakers by roughly GEL 2.5 million annually.

According to the poll carried out by Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) in September, 60% of respondents were against of increasing number of seats in the Parliament with only 8% responding positively.

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