A group of 32 Georgian civil society organizations (CSOs), including the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, the Georgian Young Lawyers Association and the Transparency International - Georgia, issued an appeal to the international community on June 27, criticizing the ruling party’s decision to postpone the introduction of proportional electoral system to 2024.
The organizations said in their statement that despite Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’s pledges that the ruling party would change the current mixed electoral system and would make it “fairer” by scrapping its majoritarian component, the ruling party “decided to disregard” the Venice Commission’s recommendation, as well as the work of the Constitutional Commission and “the voice of the civil society and all political parties.”
“We assess this as a clear and targeted attempt and a step towards consolidating power, on yet another – constitutional – level, which poses grave threat to democracy in Georgia,” the CSOs said, adding that “a Constitution, which is not based on broad consensus, may pose a risk not only to the democratic future of Georgia, but also the overall stability of the political process in the country.”
The CSOs called on the international community “to use all available instruments at your disposal to help us mitigate and prevent these very unfavorable developments taking place in Georgia,” and “deliver very strong messages to the Government and the ruling party, that the attempts towards consolidation of power are incompatible with western standards of democracy.”
On June 23, the Parliament of Georgia adopted unanimously with 115 votes the constitutional amendments with its second reading. The third and the final hearing will be held in autumn, 2017.