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CSOs Call for Govt to Fulfill Promise on Moving to Proportional Electoral System

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Fifteen Georgian local civil society organizations, including Transparency International Georgia, Open Society Georgia Foundation and ISFED, released a statement on December 20, calling on the ruling Georgian Dream party “to fulfill its promise on moving to proportional electoral system” from 2020.

The ruling Georgian Dream party offers the opposition new proposal to solve the political crisis that emerged following the former’s backtracking on its key promise to transfer Georgia to fully proportional electoral system from 2020 instead of 2024. Georgian Dream proposes tweaking existing mixed electoral system, that envisages decreasing the number of places reserved for majoritarian MPs from 73 to 50, while the number of lawmakers elected through proportional party-lists should increase from 77 to 100.

Haling the mixed electoral system as “democratic and balanced,” Talakvadze stated that “the compromise” should be adopted not only for 2020, but the future parliamentary polls as well.

According to CSOs, with its today’s proposal, the ruling party “has confirmed their desire” to abolish the transfer to fully proportional electoral system from 2024, [as provided in the constitution]. “This initiative does not aim to make any compromise and improve electoral system, but rather worsen existing regulations about the fully proportional model, which has long been the subject of political consensus in the country,” they stated.

CSOs also noted that the initiative proposed by Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze earlier today, is “fully unacceptable,” lacks seriousness, “ignores the country’s democratic interests,” and serves to prolong Georgian Dream’s governance. “Georgian Dream’s downvoting of the [bill on] transferring to proportional electoral system has created unstable political environment not only in the country, but has also seriously affected the country’s image abroad, among its international partners,” CSOs said.

Noting that the ruling party “does not reveal political will” to improve the existing crisis, the CSOs consider that during the ongoing dialogues between the ruling party and opposition, the parties should not discuss electoral changes according to their own interests, but rather focus on public needs.

Putting the entire responsibility of the current political crisis on the ruling party and its chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili, who promised electoral changes back in June amid public protest, CSOs called on the Georgian Dream “to realize its responsibilities well and fulfill its promise on moving to proportional polls, according to public demand and clear messages of Georgia’s international partners.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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