There are total of only eleven independent candidates who are willing to run for majoritarian MP seats in the October 1 parliamentary elections, according to the Central Election Commission.
August 5 was a deadline for “initiative groups” to apply for registration of independent candidates to a respective District Election Commission (DEC), which is a mid-level electoral commission in three-tiered structure of election administration.
Total of eleven applications were filed to eleven DECs, including Tbilisi’s Samgori single-mandate constituency; Kutaisi single-mandate constituency; Telavi constituency; Tianeti; Marneuli; Mtskheta; Kharagauli; Vani; Senaki; Zugdidi and Khulo single-mandate constituency, according to the Central Election Commission.
73 out of 150 parliamentary seats will be allocated to majoritarian MP candidates, who will win in 73 single-mandate constituencies. Remaining 77 seats will be distributed under the party-list, proportional system among the parties and election blocs which will clear 5% threshold.
Unlike previous elections in 2008, when only parties or election blocs were eligible to nominate majoritarian MP candidates, now independent candidates, nominated by an initiative group of at least five people, are also able to run in single-mandate constituencies.
But independent candidates, willing to run for majoritarian MP seat, will have to post GEL 5,000 as deposit, which they will only be able to retrieve if they garner at least 10% of votes.
This rule of financial deposit was imposed in an attempt to discourage such underdog independent candidates from running, who might be willing to enter into the majoritarian contest without even having an intention to win.
Large number of candidates, including independent ones in a single-mandate constituency, is seen to be unfavorable scenario for the majoritarian candidates nominated by opposition parties, because it increases chance of splitting an overall opposition votes, thus playing into the hands of a ruling party candidate.
A majoritarian candidate is elected under a winner-takes-all rule, but a candidate should garner no less than 30% of votes in order to be declared an outright winner in the first round.
DEC should register an applicant initiative group within a day after the application was filed or in case of inaccuracy in an application DEC should immediately inform about it an applicant. Registered initiative groups should then collect signatures of supporters and submit it to respective DEC no later than August 12. Number of signatures of supporters should be at least 1% of voters, registered in a single-mandate constituency where a candidate wants to run. No signatures of supporters are required if a candidate is a sitting lawmaker.