There is neither time nor possibility to resolving the issue of wide disparity between single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies before the parliamentary elections in October, 2012, a senior ruling party MP Akaki Minashvili said on December 29.
“Because of peculiarities of Georgia’s administrative [division] it is very difficult to make constituencies of equal size. We understand this problem, which involves inequality of vote, but it is difficult to resolve this problem at once. Discussions of course will continue to address this problem, but there is neither time nor possibility to solve it before the elections,” MP Akaki Minashvili said on December 29.
He made the remarks while commenting on a statement by the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi, which expressed “regret”, that there “was no agreement on elements of the new code that would have addressed lingering perceptions on inequality within the electoral system.”
The Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional affairs, Venice Commission, has long been recommending Georgia to secure equality of vote through establishing approximately equal sized single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies.
Wide variance between the constituencies - ranging from about 6,000 voters in the smallest constituency to over 150,000 voters in the largest one – is not addressed in the new election code, passed by the Parliament this week. The new code envisages the next Parliament’s slightly reshaped configuration with 77 party-list and 73 majoritarian MPs, instead of existing 75/75.
MP Minashvili described the U.S. embassy’s statement on recently passed election-related legislation, also involving party funding regulations, as “very positive.”
“The U.S. embassy’s statement in general is very positive and this statement unambiguously notes that those reforms and changes both in the electoral code and in the law on political parties creates competitive environment for all the political parties,” MP Minashvili said.
The U.S. embassy’s statement, which also makes a reference to “existing imbalances in political competitiveness”, says that many of the recently passed legislative amendments, “if coupled with successful efforts to address real and perceived irregularities in the voters’ lists, will contribute to a more competitive campaign environment for the 2012 parliamentary election.”
(For details on another key aspect from the U.S. embassy’s statement involving party funding regulations and the ruling party’s response on it visit this link).