On March 8, following another meeting between the authorities and opposition parties on the electoral system, it became known that an agreement has been reached. The election system compromise foresees distribution of 120 mandates under a proportional system, 1% electoral threshold and distribution of 30 mandates under a majoritarian system for the 2020 parliamentary elections. In addition, irrespective of the number of majoritarian seats obtained, no single party that receives less than 40% of the votes in proportional elections can form the government.
Even though the model does not represent the entirely proportional system, which has long been demanded by civil society, the agreement is clearly commendable because its outcome is more proportional than the outcome of the existing electoral system.
Such improvement in the electoral system following months of political tension is an important prerequisite for creating a peaceful and fair pre-election environment. We hope that all political parties and especially the parties represented in parliament will take reasonable measures and not spare an effort to reflect the agreed model in the legislation as soon as possible. This will help create a stable and competitive political environment and allow all political parties to plan and implement a pre-election campaign in a timely manner, in a healthy electoral environment.
We would like to express our gratitude and reiterate the significant contribution of Georgia’s international partners in achieving the agreement. They facilitated the dialogue between the parties and without their efforts and attempts it would not have been possible to reach the agreement important for the Georgian population and for democratic development of the country.
At this stage, it is important that the process of legislative amendments takes place according to the agreement and both the electoral system and majoritarian electoral districts are determined fairly. The agreement does not mention electoral blocs, so it is necessary to address this issue in the nearest future.
We hope that following initiation of legislative changes concerning the electoral system, the authorities will soon resume working on the Election Code amendments within the format of election reform working group, which had been suspended as a result of ongoing election system negotiations. To ensure prevention of election violations and creation of a fair electoral environment, discussions on recommendations of OSCE and local observer organizations should continue and subsequent changes should be made to improve the electoral environment.
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
Georgian Democratic Initiative (GDI)
Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)
Transparency International – Georgia (TI)
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)