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New Deal on Electoral System
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Dec.'11 / 16:05

  • Number of majoritarian MPs – 73;
  • Number of party-list MPs – 77;
  • Higher bar for passing constitutional amendment;
  • Party clearing 5% threshold automatically takes six seats

After dropping plans to increase an overall number of seats in the next Parliament, the ruling party and some opposition parties agreed on Monday to slightly change the current distribution of seats between MPs elected in majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies and through party-list proportional system.

According to the new agreement number of majoritarian MPs will go down from current 75 to 73 and number of MPs elected through party-list system will be increased from current 75 to 77.

Other key points of the new agreement include:

  • Change of rule of allocation seats through proportional contest. According to the new agreement any political party or an electoral bloc will automatically endorse six of its members into the Parliament if clearing 5% threshold, so if a party receives 5% or more but if it translates into having only one or two MPs, this party, under the new planned rule, will anyway be able to endorse six of its members in the Parliament. It means that clearing of 5% threshold will automatically give a party or a bloc opportunity to establish a faction within the parliament, which requires having at least six lawmakers.
  • Setting higher bar for constitutional amendment starting from late 2013. According to the agreement a constitutional amendment will be initiated according to which three-fourth of majority, instead of current two-third, will be required starting from December 1, 2013 for passing constitutional amendments. It means that support of 113 lawmakers, instead of current 100 will be needed to amend the constitution. The rule will be enacted one year after the election of new parliament in fall, 2012.

Technically this planned change in the number of majoritarian and party-list MPs will come as a result of scrapping to majoritarian seats, which originally were allocated for two single-mandate constituencies located in breakaway South Ossetia.

Among those 75 majoritarian MPs currently holding seats in the Parliament there are two who were elected in May, 2008 elections in Liakhvi and Akhalgori – constituencies which before the August, 2008 war were under the Tbilisi’s control in breakaway South Ossetia. Scrapping of these majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies from the electoral system, creates vacant seats in the Parliament, which will now be filled by PMs elected through party-list, proportional system.

The deal also means that the initial plan of dividing several largest single-mandate constituencies will also be dropped, thus keeping a wide disparity between the single-mandate constituencies involving large variance in number of voters in various districts. Providing an approximately equal size of single-mandate constituencies in order to guarantee the equality of the vote has long been a call from the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional affairs.

The agreement was reached during a meeting of senior ruling party lawmakers, including parliamentary speaker Davit Bakradze with some opposition parties, among them Christian-Democratic Movement and New Rights Party – those who have joined an initial deal on election system reform in summer.

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