Because of a failure to address wide disparity between single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies resulting in unequal weight of each vote, Georgia’s “new election system is not fully in line with European standards,” two co-rapporteurs from Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in their report to the PACE’s monitoring committee. The information note, which has been drawn up mainly based on co-rapporteurs’ fact-finding visit to Georgia in October, was released on January 26 and focuses on administration of justice and election-related issues. Kastriot Islami and Michael Jensen, co-rapporteurs on honouring obligations by Georgia, welcome in the report the Georgian authorities’ decision to adopt new election code, as well as addressing in the new code a number of recommendations made by the Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs Venice Commission. The report, however, notes it was “regrettable that no consensus could be reached on the new election code and especially on the election system by which the new parliament is to be elected.”
The Venice Commission, has long been recommending Georgia to secure equality of vote through establishing approximately equal sized single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies. The commission said wide disparity between the constituencies – ranging from about 6,000 voters in the smallest constituency to over 150,000 voters in the largest one – “undermines the principle of equality of suffrage.”
The new election code, which went into effect this month, mainly leaves the system unchanged. In the next Parliament 73 seats will go to majoritarian MPs elected in 73 single-mandate constituencies and rest 77 seats will be allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties and election blocs, which will clear 5% threshold.
Full Article: Civil.Ge | PACE Monitors on Georgia’s Electoral System.