- Mixed system will be maintained for 2016 elections;
- Plurality vote to elect majoritarian MPs will be replaced by majority vote;
- Single-mandate districts will be redrawn to provide equality of suffrage;
- GD offers to scrap majoritarian component for post-2016 elections.
Georgian Dream ruling coalition announced its proposal on reforming long-standing and much-criticized electoral system after a meeting on Friday evening, which was also attended by ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Proposal involves maintaining for 2016 parliamentary elections mixed system, wherein 73 lawmakers in 150-seat legislative body are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies and the remaining 77 seats are allocated by a party-list, proportional vote.
But it envisages replacing current rule of plurality vote to elect majoritarian MPs in single-mandate constituencies with majority vote.
Under the existing rule a majoritarian MP candidate, who receives more votes than others, but not less than 30%, is declared an outright winner of the race.
GD’s proposal is to increase threshold required for an outright victory to 50%. A second round of the race should be held if none of the candidate garners more than 50% of votes, according to this proposal.
- Scope of Expected Electoral System Reform Debated
- Opposition, NGOs Call for Scrapping Majoritarian Part of Electoral System
- Constitutional Court Orders Overhaul of Majoritarian Part of Electoral System
The proposal also entails redrawing of existing single-mandate constituencies in order to address large disparity among election districts.
The size of the districts vary from each other by the number of voters – ranging from over 150,000 voters in the largest one to less than 6,000 voters in the smallest one.
The Constitutional Court said in its ruling late last month that such disparity was undermining equality of vote.
Redrawing of districts will most likely entail dividing some of the largest constituencies.
While the GD’s electoral system reform proposals address Constitutional Court’s ruling, it falls short of opposition’s demands.
At a conference hosted by President Giorgi Margvelashvili on May 30, 14 opposition parties, including non-parliamentary and parliamentary ones, and 8 civil society organizations made a joint appeal to the Parliament, demanding to scrap majoritarian component of the system and to replace it with regional-proportional system, involving multi-mandate constituencies.
“Drastic changes are not desirable when elections are already at the doorstep,” Davit Usupashvili, the parliament speaker, said after the meeting of the GD coalition.
He, however, said that the GD is ready to propose scrapping of majoritarian system for the elections, which will be held after the 2016 parliamentary polls.
It will require a constitutional amendment. GD MP Davit Berdzenishvili, who like Usupashvili is from the Republican Party, said that the ruling coalition plans to table relevant constitutional amendment in coming days.
Speaking after the meeting, PM Irakli Garibashvili said that the proposed changes represent “agreed position” of the GD parliamentary majority group.
But after the meeting MP Ani Mirotadze of National Forum, part of the coalition, said that her party remains on the position that majoritarian component should be scrapped and elections in 2016 should be held solely based on proportional, party-list system.
PM Garibashvili said that the proposal changes are expected to be implemented before the end of this year. He also said that the detailed plan will be tabled in “nearest days.”
Asked about the participation of Bidzina Ivanishvili at the GD coalition’s meeting, parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili responded that the ex-PM was present “upon our request.”
“We deemed his presence appropriate while discussing this important issue,” Usupashvili said.