Georgian Dream chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze announced today that the ruling party will lower the electoral barrier to 2% and vote for a fully proportional system, albeit within a month after the country receives EU candidate status in exchange.
- EU States Recognize Georgia’s European Perspective
- European Commission’s Memo Detailing Recommendations for Georgia
At the press briefing in a ruling party headquarters, MP Kobakhidze emphasized setting a low threshold would give the United National Movement a higher chance of emerging victorious in the 2024 Parliamentary elections and hence, “worth it” for the ruling party only in exchange for the important benefit of EU candidacy.
According to the governing party chairperson, granting candidate status would “significantly lower polarization” in Georgia and in turn allow for a lower threshold since “the higher the degree of polarization, the more appropriate it is to maintain a higher threshold.”
MP Kobakhidze said, citing the results from the 2021 local elections, that if a 2% threshold is introduced, UNM and its minor “satellite” parties could increase the largest opposition party’s chances of returning to power. But Kobakhidze vowed that GD would “defeat completely” its bête noire even under the 2% barrier.
The EU-brokered April 19, 2021 agreement between the Georgian Dream and opposition parties envisaged that “all future parliamentary elections shall be fully proportional. The next two parliamentary
elections shall have a threshold between natural and 2%.” The GD abandoned the deal in July last year.
Per the current reading of the law, the next parliamentary elections in 2024 will be held under a fully proportional system with a 5% barrier. The GD chair said the reading “fully complies with the best European practices and legal standards.”