Bidzina Ivanishvili, the chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia (GDDG), who announced in late June, in response to Tbilisi protests, that upcoming parliamentary elections in 2020 would be fully proportional, is “disappointed” that the bill has been voted down.
“Unfortunately, the Parliament of Georgia has voted down this initiative due to resistance of one part of the Georgian Dream MPs, mainly the majoritarians,” Ivanishvili said in a statement of November 14.
Ivanishvili noted that the idea to switch to fully proportional system was never popular among majoritarian MPs, and recalled that during the constitutional amendments of 2017 no consensus could be reached within the party on moving to fully proportional electoral system from 2020.
Ivanishvili said divergent opinions within his party then led to “a compromise” reflected in the new constitution that envisages holding the 2020 polls with the current mixed electoral system, and to transfer to fully proportional parliamentary representation from 2024.
In his today’s statement, Ivanishvili also noted that if the parliamentary opposition would have revealed “minimum amount of political maturity” back in 2017, instead of advancing its “narrow partial agenda,” they [opposition] would have supported the 2017 constitutional reform, that would have prevented “today’s discussion and turmoil from taking place.”
In that case, “we would have persuaded our majoritarians that the idea of postponing the electoral reform has no prospective, and would have also unequivocally written down in the constitution the decision on moving to proportional system from 2020,” Ivanishvili said.
The ruling party chair also stressed that opposition [referring to the United National Movement] and their “satellites” have met his June announcement with “endless destruction, attempt to cause unrest in the country and the church, with aggressive rhetoric, cynicism, and personal assault.”
Resignation of then Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia (who in September was elevated as the PM), holding of 2020 polls through fully proportional party-lists, as well as the release of the protesters detained on the night of June 20-21 and detention of those law enforcers who exceeded their duties, were among the major demands of the peaceful demonstrators.
Ivanishvili said, despite the “sharp internal discussions and misunderstandings” within the ruling party, he and other leaders spared no effort to avoid the deadlock in the process. “As the leader of the ruling political force, I once again confirm that I did and will support transition to proportional electoral system from 2020, and I am sincerely sorry that this has failed to happen,” Ivanishvili noted.
He then added that with his team and the government he will guarantee that “the process of Georgia’s democratic development will become irreversible.” “Free and fair elections in 2020 will be the precondition and a clear example of that,” he concluded.