Parliament of Georgia has decided that the President will be elected for a six-year term, parliamentary chairman Irakli Kobakhidze stated after a parliamentary bureau meeting today. The bureau includes the chairmen of all parliamentary committees, factions, as well the chairman and deputy chairman of parliament.
Kobakhidze said the decision was taken after Members of Parliament (MPs) made their remarks during the second hearing in parliament of the legislative package on constitutional changes, on June 23rd. The changes can be made only after a third hearing, scheduled at the end of September.
“This was the initiative of Mrs. Tamar Khulordava [Chairperson of the Committee on Euro-Integration] to elect the president for a six-year term. This change is visible in [the parliament’s] transitionary statements. [As] the parliament will be elected with the proportional system in 2024, it was desirable to have the President elected with 300 electors from then as well,” Kobakhidze said.
Parliament approved changes to the constitution on June 23 for the second time with 115 in favour and 0 against, entailing changes to the presidential and parliamentary electoral systems.
According to the initiative of the ruling Georgian Dream party, the President will no longer be directly elected, but by 300 members of an electoral college. 150 members will be MPs from Georgian parliament; the other 150 members will be representatives from local municipalities.
The ruling party has been criticized for the changes to the system for presidential elections.
According to the planned changes, the parliamentary elections in 2020 will be held with a mixed electoral system, the same system Georgia has now. The Georgian Dream party only plans on abolishing the majoritarian system for the 2024 elections.
There will be a change implemented for the 2020 elections, to switch from a 5% threshold to enter parliament to a 3% threshold.
Currently Georgia has a mixed electoral system. At the polling station, citizens cast one vote for a majoritarian candidate running in their district, and a second vote for a national party list. Seventy-seven seats in the parliament are distributed amongst the parties according to the proportion of list votes they receive. Parties must pass a minimum threshold of 5% of the vote in order to win seats in the parliament.