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GDDG Wins Constitutional Majority in New Parliament
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Oct.'16 / 19:00

The ruling Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party has won 115 seats in Georgia`s newly elected Parliament, which will allow it to change the Constitution. 

The ruling party took 44 out of total 77 seats in the proportional contest and 71 out of 73 seats allocated through the majoritarian system.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) will take 27 seats and an election bloc led by the Alliance of Patriots will take 6 seats, both won these seats in the proportional contest. 

GDDG did not field its candidate in Mtatsminda district of Tbilisi, but has backed an independent - Salome Zourabichvili, former foreign minister, who beat her opponent from UNM convincingly in the runoffs, according to the preliminary results. The GDDG candidate was only defeated in Khashuri, where a candidate from the Industrialists party has won the race.  

Irakli Kobakhidze, GDDG’s youthful executive secretary is rumored to eye the Speaker seat. He did not deny these rumors when confronted by the press. 

The chairmanships of the parliamentary committees will be taken by the ruling party and consultations are reportedly ongoing. The voting will take place as soon as the President sets the date of an inaugural session of the newly elected Parliament. The Central Election Commission (CEC) has until 18 November to summarizes the final vote tallies.

 

Once convened, the Parliament will vote in the new cabinet. GDDG is expected to re-nominate the incumbent, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to head the government.

PM Kvirikashvili said that the degree of trust shown by the vote "assigns tremendous responsibility to the ruling party.”

“I strongly believe that we will live up to your expectations by executing our duties in the most dignified manner and will advance the country to a completely new stage of development,” he said.

“I respect the free choice of every single individual, no matter which political force they voted for. Most important is that we managed to hold the most democratic parliamentary elections in Georgia’s recent history and it is a huge step ahead,” PM Kvirikashvili said on October 31. 

He reiterated that GDDG will use its mandate “not to allow anyone to tailor the constitution to any single political force.”

President Giorgi Margvelashvili hailed the October parliamentary elections as “an important step” for Georgia’s democracy and called on all political actors to get involved in “discussions, government’s scrutiny and active political dialogue.”

MP Davit Bakradze, one of the leaders of the opposition UNM party, said that the party was defeated in majoritarian MP elections as a result of “pressure, intimidation, violence and the use of administrative resources” and that “one-party rule” has been established in the country, where the UNM will be “the only alternative force.”  

“Our task in the new Parliament will be to struggle against those changes, which will harm the interests of Georgian democracy,” he said at a news briefing on October 31.

GDDG is not the first party to govern with constitutional majority; UNM held the majority of two-thirds in 2008-2012, which was, at the time, sufficient for passing the Constitutional amendments. Modifications reducing the powers of the President in favor of the Prime Minister and the parliament were passed during this period. UNM was often accused by its opponents of tailoring the Constitution to its own partisan agenda, as Preisdent Mikheil Saakashvili was finishing his last term at the time. Partly to respond to this domestic criticism, echoed by the Council of Europe’s influential Venice Commission, the supermajority required to modify the constitution was consequently increased from two-thirds to three-fourths of the MPs in 150-person parliament. 

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