Movement for Liberty - European Georgia MP Sergi Kapanadze wrote on his Facebook page comparing the new system being proposed for parliamentary elections in Georgia to the system which was adopted under Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The proposed changes to the electoral system were approved by the Constitutional Commission on April 23rd.
“The electoral system of Italian fascists, the so called ‘Acerbo Law,’ was adopted by the Parliament of Italy under the request of Mussolini. According to this law, in the case that the winning party received more than 25%, would get ⅔ of overall votes of other parties,” MP Kapanadze wrote. “The Georgian Dream’s proposal suggests that the winning party will take the mandates of all political parties who don’t cross the 5% threshold. As a reminder, approximately 20% of the votes were lost during the previous elections.”
The new edition of Georgia’s constitution being proposed by the Constitutional Commission suggests abolishing the majoritarian system for parliamentary elections. However, the party which will gain victory will then also get the remaining mandates that are left by parties which did not pass the 5% threshold to enter into parliament. The winning party will therefore get more MPs in Parliament than citizens voted for.
Moreover, according to the proposed changes, citizens will not directly vote for the President, who will instead be elected by an electoral college of 300 electors, for a 5-year term.
The Constitutional Committee started its work after it was officially approved by the Parliament of Georgia on December 15th, 2016. The aim of the group is to discuss the changes to the constitution of Georgia. NGOs, opposition parties, as well as the president were integral parts of the commission from the very beginning, though a number of opposition parties have since left the commission.
Movement for Liberty - European Georgia called on the government of Georgia on April 21st to hold a plebiscite on the planned changes to the constitution regarding how the President is elected and the parliamentary election system.
Movement for Liberty - European Georgia revealed they intend to go door to door to collect signatures for holding the plebiscite. MP Elene Khoshtaria explained the party’s motivation that “it is the Georgian Dream’s attitude that they are not interested in the opinions of any political group, president, civil society, or population. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
The leader of the Patriots’ Alliance, Irma Inashvili, stated today that the party is demanding the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) to hold a referendum on the proposed constitutional changes. Inashvili said they will protest if the CEC refuses to hold a referendum.