Abolition of the second round of the city council majoritarian elections will be a step backward - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Abolition of the second round of the city council majoritarian elections will be a step backward

01 April, 2024

On March 20 of this year, the MPs of the ‘Georgian Dream” submitted to the Parliament legislative amendments to the Election Code, which provides for the abolishment of the 40% threshold for electing the majoritarian city council members. If the amendments are adopted, there will be no second rounds of the majoritarian elections of city councils, which increases the risk of wasted votes, and the supporters of the opposition parties participating in the elections will lose the chance to vote for a single opposition candidate in the second round.

According to the current version of the law, a candidate is considered elected through a majoritarian electoral system as a city council member when he/she receives more votes than his/her competitors but not less than 40% of total votes. A second round is appointed if none of the candidates overcomes the 40% threshold. This threshold was introduced in the Election Code in 2021.

The proposed change also increases the possibility that a candidate will be elected as a city council member with fewer supporters than opposers. Ultimately, there is a growing danger that the will expressed by voters will not be adequately reflected in mandates.

Therefore, the presented change is clearly a backward step, reflecting the general trend observed in the legislative policy of the “Georgian Dream” government in recent years in connection with the elections. In particular, the government is increasingly trying to deteriorate the electoral legislation and adapt it to itself. As an illustration, it is enough to recall the recently adopted amendments to the Election Code of Georgia and the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament regarding the election of the CEC chairperson and members, which completely neglect the recommendations of the Venice Commission and ODIHR.

Based on the above, we call the Parliament not to adopt the initiated draft law.