How Georgian Dream plans to change legislation for 2020 parliamentary elections?

How Georgian Dream plans to change legislation for 2020 parliamentary elections?

Speaker of the Georgian parliament Archil Talakvadze has presented amendments to the constitution and the Electoral Code yesterday, put forward by the ruling Georgian Dream party.

Talakvadze said on August 5 that the parliamentary elections next year will be held on the basis of a proportional system as promised in June by the leader of the Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

"As you see, our side has the political will and readiness to implement this important political reform. To carry out these changes we will need the opposition's support and a readiness to share responsibility," Talakvadze said, adding that consultations on the proposed amendments with the participation of opposition groups were continuing.

According to the proposed amendments, 5,000 signatures will be required for a political party to get registered for the poll and the mechanism for verifying the lists of supporters will be simplified, RFE/RL reported.

Changing the electoral system from a mixed system to a proportional one from 2020 was one of the demands of thousands of demonstrators who rallied for weeks in June-July.

The next parliamentary elections in Georgia are scheduled for Autumn 2020.

A member of the ‘Expert Club of Georgia’ Vakhtang Maisaya, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that in the first place, the Georgian Dream party wants to stop the process launched during the June 20-21 protests. "The situation in Georgia is very tense, there is a deep political crisis here. And the Georgian Dream wants to find approaches to get out of it. One of them is holding the future parliamentary elections on the basis of a proportional system, that is, with the participation of all political parties. The most interesting thing is that all political parties will have equal starting capital. In the future, many political parties will appear on Georgian political arena," he said.

"And using this megapluralism, the GD party wants to get a majority in parliament. The fact is that the Georgian Dream, as the ruling party, has administrative resources, it controls two television channels and some radio stations. The ruling party also has financial resources," the member of the ‘Expert Club of Georgia’ stressed.

"Despite the fact that large political parties left the GD, this party is still a coalition. And now the creation of any coalitions and blocs is excluded, that is, all parties will have equal conditions," the expert noted.

"If the amendments are adopted, then it will be necessary to amend the Georgian Constitution, because under the new Constitution, proportional elections were to be held in 2024, not in 2020. Most likely, the parliamentary elections will be held in early October 2020," Vakhtang Maisaya added.

The head of the Center for Global Studies, Nana Devdariani, described the new amendments as a very extraordinary step on the part of Bidzina Ivanishvili. "Previously, when the Georgian Dream and the Unified National Movement won the election, they proportionally shared the mandates of parties that did not overcome the 5% threshold. Now, there are chances for parties that previously could not cope with the 5% threshold. And this is a good thing , because the more different opinions will be presented in parliament, the better for the people. But Mikheil Saakashvili does not like this innovation, because his party is deprived of the additional mandates that they would receive under the 5% threshold conditions," the expert said.

Assessing the possibility of the GD party's satellite parties getting into the parliament instead of the opposition, she recalled that this happened regularly under the majority system. "But even if there are some satellites now, the Georgian Dream will not receive those additional mandates, so in any case there will be an element of deterrence. I think that other parties still have a chance to enter the parliament," Nana Devdariani concluded.