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CSOs Call on Georgian Dream to Adopt Proportional Electoral System

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On January 28, 22 civil society organizations (among them International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Transparency International Georgia, Open Society Georgia Foundation, The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Georgian Democracy Initiative, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association) addressed the ruling Georgian Dream party to “take into account their responsibility towards the democratic development of the country and to re-submit the initiative on Constitutional Changes to the Parliament in relation to the adoption of a proportional electoral system.”

According to the statement released by the group, “the backsliding of democracy in Georgia over the recent period has come under the spotlight by international organizations and representatives of countries friendly to Georgia.” Backtracking on the promise to adopt a proportional electoral system, the formation process of the Supreme court, as well the ongoing political crisis and policies of the Georgian Government “have been numerously criticized by the country’s domestic and international partners”, the group said. CSOs pointed to “the critical statements made at the European Parliament” and “the strongly worded letters addressed to the Prime Minister of Georgia by the representatives of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.”

In the meantime, the group noted Georgia’s decline in a number of international indices. This, they stated, “will have a negative effect on the pre-electoral environment and the day of the Parliamentary elections.” Under the circumstances, the group called on the Government of Georgia and the ruling party “to take steps aimed at deescalating the situation and restoring the reputation of the country in the eyes of international partners.”

CSOs suggested, that if Georgian Dream adopts the proportional electoral system, local and international society will perceive this move as “the ruling party’s readiness to support the country’s democratic development.” The group reiterated, that “the creation of a free and fair election environment in the run-up to the Parliamentary elections in 2020 will strengthen the legitimacy of the election, restore the trust of Western partners and contribute to the improvement of the country’s reputation.” This change, CSOs stressed, “will enable political parties to start preparing for their pre-electoral activities, reduce the level of polarization and create the conditions for a stable electoral environment.”

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

On November 14, with 101 votes in favor and three against, the Georgian Parliament voted down the bill that would change Georgia’s mixed electoral system to fully proportional one from 2020, instead of 2024. While all of 44 MPs of opposition parties supported the bill, Georgian Dream’s three lawmakers voted against the amendment and 37 abstained, making the bill fall short of the needed 113 votes, three fourths of sitting 150 MPs.

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