Voters in Georgia will head to the polls on October 8 to elect 150-member Parliament for a four-year term.
A political party or an election bloc, which garners most of the votes in the elections, will have the right to nominate a prime ministerial candidate.
On the same day, voters in Adjara Autonomous Republic will also elect local legislative body – Supreme Council.
Georgia has a mixed electoral system.
77 seats out of total 150 are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties and election blocs, which clear 5% threshold.
73 lawmakers are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies.
In this mixed system a voter has two votes – one for electing a local representative of a respective single-mandate district to the Parliament and another one is cast for a party or an election bloc (a coalition of two or more parties running in the elections on the joint ticket).
816 candidates are contesting for 73 MP seats, which are up for grabs in 73 single-member districts, known as “majoritarian” mandates.
A majoritarian MP candidate has to win over 50% of votes in order to be an outright winner in the first round.
A second round will be held between the two contenders with the best results if no candidate receives more than 50% of votes in the first round.
Second round runoffs should be held no later than 25 days after the first round.
Previously threshold was 30%, but it was increased to 50% as a result of legislative amendments in December, 2015.
Increase of the threshold has also increased possibility of pushing the race in many single-member districts into second round; number of candidates in each of the district varies from six to sixteen.
In another major electoral legislation changes, the Parliament redrew earlier this year boundaries of single-member districts to narrow huge discrepancy in size of constituencies by merging some small districts and dividing larger ones.
As a result, boundaries of single-mandate constituencies no longer coincide with those of administrative borders of municipalities.
Number of voters in each election district now varies from about 41,300 in the smallest one (Tbilisi’s single-mandate constituency covering mostly the capital city’s Vake district) to 53,400 in the largest one (Gurjaani single-mandate constituency in eastern Georgian region of Kakheti).
Before the redistricting, number of voters was ranging from over 150,000 in the largest one to less than 6,000 in the smallest one.
Proportional, Party-list Vote
77 seats are up for grabs in the Parliament under the party-list, proportional race among parties and election blocs.
Number of seats allocated to each party/bloc, which clears 5% threshold, is calculated under the following formula: number of votes garnered by a party/bloc is multiplied by 77 and divided by an aggregate sum of votes cast for all the parties and blocs.
If a party/bloc clears 5% threshold but it, under this formula, translates into having less than 6 MPs, this party/bloc will anyway be eligible to 6 seats at the expense of taking seats from other parties having better results in elections.
It means that clearing of 5% threshold guarantees a party or an election bloc to have at least 6 MPs, which is required minimum for setting up a faction in the Parliament.
Parties and Blocs Contesting in Elections
19 political parties and 6 election blocs are running in the October 8 parliamentary polls.
Election bloc is a coalition of several political parties, running in the elections on the joint ticket.
Below is the list of 6 election blocs:
- United National Movement (UNM) – an election bloc formed by the largest opposition party, which apart of UNM also includes little-known, small party European Georgia; depending on election results, running in elections in a bloc may give some privileges to a larger party in the bloc, like additional seat in the Central Election Commission;
Click on the link to find out who are top 50 MP candidates on UNM’s party list.
- Paata Burchuladze-State for People – an election bloc, led by opera singer Paata Burchuladze’s State for People party, was formed on August 18 and initially included four parties: State for People; New Georgia, led by MP Giorgi Vashadze, who quit UNM party in May, 2016; New Rights Party, led by former MP Mamuka Katsitadze, and New Political Center-Girchi, led by MP Zurab Japaridze, who quit UNM party in May, 2015. Less than two weeks before the elections, NPC-Girchi quit the coalition and also pulled out of the election race on September 27.
Top 20 MP candidates on State for People election bloc’s list, which was amended after NPC-Girchi’s withdrawal.
- Alliance of Patriots of Georgia-United Opposition – a 6-party election bloc which along with Alliance of Patriots also unites five smaller parties: Free Georgia; Traditionalists; Freedom; New Christian-Democrats, and Political Movement of Law Enforcement and Armed Forces Veterans and Patriots.
Alliance of Patriots-led election bloc’s list of MP candidates.
- Nino Burjanadze-Democratic Movement – an election bloc formed by former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze’s United Democratic Movement party with small and little-known Democratic Movement-United Georgia party.
Burjanadze’s party list of MP candidates;
- Industrialists–Our Homeland – an election bloc formed by Industrialists party, led by MP Gogi Topadze which was GDDG ruling party’s coalition partner in the outgoing parliament, and Our Homeland, party which is led by Zviad Chitishvili, who has businesses in Russia and dual citizenship of Georgia and Russia; one of the pre-election promises of the Our Homeland party is distribution of Russian passports;
Bloc’s list of MP candidates.
- Ours-People’s Party – an election bloc formed by two small, lesser-known parties: Ours and People’s Party;
Below is the list of 19 political parties, which are running in the elections independently, without forming blocs with other parties:
- Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) – the ruling party founded by billionaire ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, which is now chaired by PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili;
GDDG’s party list of MP candidates;
- Free Democrats – founded and led by Irakli Alasania, who was defense minister for two years before his party quit the ruling Georgian Dream coalition 2012-2014;
Free Democrats’ party list of MP candidates.
- Labor Party – Shalva Natelashvili is the founder and leader of the party;
Labor Party’s list of MP candidates;
- Republican Party – led by Davit Usupashvili, who is speaker of the outgoing parliament; the party was ruling GDDG party’s coalition partner in the government up until late July, 2016;
Republican Party’s list of MP candidates;
- National Forum – led by MP Gubaz Sanikidze; the party was within the Georgian Dream ruling coalition in the Parliament up until April, 2016.
National Forum’s list of MP candidates;
- For United Georgia – led by former member of GDDG ruling party, MP Tamaz Mechiauri, who although quit GDDG in late May after criticizing government’s declared policy of NATO integration, according to him, maintains links with ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who founded GDDG party;
- People’s Government – one of the leaders of the party is Levan Mamaladze, who lives in Russia and who was an influential governor of Kvemo Kartli region during Eduard Shevardnadze’s presidency; he fled to Russia after the 2003 Rose Revolution;
- For Georgia’s Peace – led by Davit Tevzadze, who was defense minister from 1998 to early 2004;
- The Way of Zviad-In the Name of the Lord – led by Mikheil-Gela Saluashvili, who was running in 2013 presidential election in which he received 0.08% of votes;
- Communist Party of Georgia-Stalinists;
- United Communist Party;
- Socialist Party of Workers;
- Merab Kostava Society;
- Georgian Idea;
- Leftist Alliance – formed by former members of the Labor Party;
- Our Georgia;
- Kartuli Dasi (Georgian Assembly);
- Progressive-Democratic Movement;
There is a three-tiered structure of election administration – precinct election commissions, administering polling stations where voters cast ballots; district election commissions and Central Election Commission (CEC).
Central Election Commission (CEC) consists of 13 members including its chairperson, Tamar Zhvania, who holds the position for a five-year term since September, 2013.
Seven members of CEC are appointed by political parties.
The following seven parties have members in CEC: GDDG; UNM; Free Democrats; Conservative Party (which is ruling GDDG party’s ally); Republican Party; Industrialists, and Democratic Movement.
Five CEC members are appointed by the parliament upon the nomination of the president and selection and appointment of CEC chair has a separate procedure.
Similar to CEC, district and precinct commissions consist of 13 members each with seven members appointed by the same political parties as in case of CEC.
Number of precinct election commissions is 3,634 in Georgia; there are also 55 polling stations at Georgia’s diplomatic missions in 47 cities of 40 countries, plus two special polling stations in Afghanistan for Georgian troops serving in the NATO-led mission.
According to the August data, number of Georgia’s voters stands at 3,452,093 – CEC has to release updated figures on October 3. According to CEC there are 49,719 voters registered abroad at the Georgian diplomatic missions.
Elections in Adjara
Simultaneously with the parliamentary elections on October 8, voters in the Adjara Autonomous Republic will elect new 21-member local legislative body, Supreme Council.
11 political parties and 4 election blocs run in the Adjara elections.
Like nationwide electoral system, Adjara’s elections are also held under the mixed system – 15 seats in Autonomous Republic’s Supreme Council are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among the parties and election blocs, which will clear 5% threshold in Adjara.
6 members of the local parliament are elected in the Autonomous Republic’s six single-member districts; a candidate has to win over 50% of votes in order to be an outright winner in the first round, otherwise a second round should be held.
Also on October 8, local by-elections will be held in number of localities, among them elections of head (gamgebeli) of municipalities in Bolnisi of Shida Kartli region; Zugdidi and Tsalenjikha of Samegrelo region; Chiatura and Kharagauli of Imereti region, as well as mayoral election for the town of Akhaltsikhe in Samtskhe-Javakheti region.