Georgian Dream Names Candidates for Vacant Parliamentary Positions

The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party has named candidates to fill the vacant positions of those lawmakers who quit the parliamentary majority as a sign of protest against the Parliament’s decision to vote down the constitutional amendment envisaging transition to the proportional electoral system.

Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze said that Gia Volski, leader of the parliamentary majority, will replace Tamar Chugoshvili as the First Vice Speaker. Mamuka Mdinaradze, will replace Gia Volski for the position of parliamentary majority. Mdinaradze will simultaneously serve as the Vice Speaker.

Giorgi Kakhiani, who chaired the committee on procedural issues, as well as MP Kakha Kuchava will also serve as the Vice Speakers. As for the heads of parliamentary committees, their positions were distributed as follows:

Three candidates – Nino Tsilosani, Davit Songulashvili and Guram Macharashvili are among those lawmakers, who did not support the bill on transition to fully proportional electoral system on November 14.

The Parliament Speaker said that the candidates will be approved at the plenary session this week.

With 101 votes in favor and three against, the Georgian Parliament downvoted the bill that would have changed Georgia’s mixed electoral system to fully proportional one from 2020, instead of 2024. With the failure to pass the amendment, the ruling Georgian Dream party backtracked on its key commitment to Tbilisi protests in June.

Protesters, demanding snap elections with fully proportional system, blocked all entrances of the Georgian Parliament on November 17. They erected tents, placed barricades and sandbags outside the Parliament building. The next day, on November 18, riot police removed barricades using water cannons and cleared the legislature’s entrances from protesters. 37 protesters were arrested on charges of petty hooliganism and disobedience to police orders. Six persons, including four protesters and two police officers sustained injuries, according to the Interior Ministry.

The Tbilisi City Court, which has been considering the cases of 37 protesters charged with hooliganism and disobedience to police orders after blocking the Parliament building on November 18, has sentenced 10 people to administrative detention, also imposed a GEL 1,000 fine on one person and gave a verbal warning to another. The rest 25 are waiting for trial so far. 

Leaders of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition, as well as civil rights activists are holding a large scale rally outside the Parliament building in downtown Tbilisi today. They plan to stay there overnight and block the Parliament’s entrances to prevent Georgian Dream lawmakers from attending the plenary session on November 26.

The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party “has closed discussions” on amending the electoral system by the 2020 parliamentary elections, strongly rejecting the possibility of holding the 2020 parliamentary elections through the so called “German model” as demanded by the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition, as well as civil rights activists.

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