In its ruling of September 25, the Constitutional Court of Georgia upheld the newly introduced 25 percent gender quotas in the parliamentary proportional party lists, while also greenlighting the women-only party lists, quashing the appeal by the members of the libertarian New Political Center – Girchi party.
The claimants argued against the electoral code amendment adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on July 2, which requires the political parties running for parliamentary elections held before 2024 to include at least every fourth person of “a different gender” in their proportional party lists.
The claiman argued that the disputed provision infringes upon both passive and active voting rights of party supporters and partners to fill the party list in accordance with their free will, thus, threatening the “proper functioning of the party”.
In its reasoning, the Court highlighted that the women’s quota mechanism is compatible with the democratic principle, as it did not attempt to impose any specific worldview or prioritize certain political entities.
Basing its arguments, among others, on the actual composition of the Parliament as well as artificial hurdles faced by women in Georgia and elsewhere, the Court held that the quotas serve the legitimate aim to ensure gender equality. In this context, the Court argued that the Constitution foresees a positive obligation for the state to take special measures to mitigate existing inequalities on the basis of sex.
Underscoring the continued underrepresentation of women in the Parliament of Georgia, the Constitutional Court noted that disputed regulation is the most effective mechanism to attain the relevant goal as alternative non-binding incentives proved to be less effective.
The court partially shared the claimants’ demands, however, and declared that the normative content of “one in four of a different gender” quota should not be interpreted as the argument for introducing male quota. Deeming a hypothetical male quota as unconstitutional, the Court stated that it does not see any logical reasons for restricting a hypothetical women-only party lists.
Six out of nine judges supported the ruling, while Justice Eva Gotsiridze gave a dissenting opinion, as well as the two other Judges – Irine Imerlishvili and Teimuraz Tugushi – dissented to the second part of the resolution, which upheld the women quota’s normative content in existing laws.
- Georgian Parliament Endorses Changes to Electoral Code in Final Reading
- Court Rules Termination of UNM MP Nika Melia’s Mandate Constitutional
- Courts Reform Moves Ahead after Constitutional Court Split Ruling