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PM on Electoral System Reform, Planned Constitutional Amendments
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 Oct.'16 / 18:00

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who will be re-nominated by GDDG as the head of government following the party’s victory in elections, said that he is not against scrapping majoritarian component of electoral system, but this decision should be made through a political consensus.

A constitutional amendment, proposed by then GD ruling coalition, envisages scrapping of the majoritarian system for the post-2016 elections, scheduled for 2020. The bill has been discussed with its first reading, but it has yet to be put on vote. 

In the interview with Imedi TV on October 29, PM Kvirikashvili, who is chairman of the ruling party, said that he sees “no danger” in scrapping majoritarian component of electoral system, but “it should not be decided by one person.”   

“I have nothing against having multi-mandate majoritarian constituencies, like in Germany,” he said. “However, this should be a matter of political consensus.”

“My position is that we should have such electoral system by 2020 that will remove any question marks and speculations, which we face today,” PM Kvirikashvili said. 

With 48.68% of votes GDDG ruling party will have 44 seats under the proportional representation. The parliamentary polls of 8 October defined an outright winner (50%+1 vote) in 23 districts - all from the ruling GDDG party and the remaining 50 districts will be contested by the two candidates with the best result.

Kvirikashvili confirmed that if it were not current electoral system, Georgian Dream would have failed to gain constitutional majority with current votes, but “we would still have had the majority to form the government without entering into coalition [with other parties].” Support of at least 76 MPs is required to approve the government.

‘Issue of constitutional amendments should not trigger any hype’

Kvirikashvili said that having a constitutional majority is “no tragedy” for the country "under the rule of Georgian Dream."

He said that current constitution “needs to be amended”, but it should happen through the consensus and agreement of “entire Georgia, rather than only Georgian Dream and constitutional majority.” 

He reiterated without elaborating the details that future model should be formulated following discussions in a special commission and “it will take about a year.”  

“We will adopt constitution, which will rule out usurpation after any party comes to power,” he pledged.

‘I am in favor of defining marriage in the constitution as union of a man and a woman’

PM Kvirikashvili said that as part of constitutional amendments, marriage will be defined in the constitution as union of a man and a woman, as vowed by the ruling GDDG party ahead of the October 8 parliamentary elections. These amendments have already been initiated and discussed by lawmakers with its first reading. Kvirikashvili said that the amendments will not be made “immediately.”  

He also said that such constitutional bar to same-sex marriage “is not discriminatory.” 

“We support constitutional bar to same-sex marriage in combination with anti-discrimination law… We are in favor of western integration along with maintaining our best traditional values,” he said and added that he does not think that this initiative will cause any rise in homophobic sentiments as claimed by opponents of this initiative and LGBT rights activists. 

‘No plans to relocate the Parliament from Kutaisi’

Another constitutional amendment initiated by Georgian Dream, which the incumbent Parliament failed to approve, is related to relocation of the Parliament from Kutaisi back to Tbilisi. 

Kvirikashvili said that this issue “will not be put on the agenda for at least several years.”

“Today it is possible to hold committee hearings in Tbilisi; so, I think, there is no problem in holding plenary sessions in Kutaisi,” he said.

A constitutional amendment envisaging relocation of the Parliament from capital Tbilisi to the country’s second largest city of Kutaisi was passed in July 2011. The Parliament moved to Kutaisi in 2012, following the parliamentary elections, but in 2014 it partially returned to Tbilisi, where only committee hearings were held.

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