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Georgia: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back on Election Law Reform?

Georgian parliamentarians: changing the rules of their own game. (Photo: Georgian Parliament)

Georgia’s proposed election code changes, the result of a deal between the governing United National Movement and opposition parties, seem to dim the hopes for genuinely competitive parliamentary and presidential votes in 2012 and 2013 respectively, some Georgian civil society activists fear.

Ten months of negotiations to reach a broad consensus, involving the United National Movement (UNM) and eight opposition groups, came to a halt in June when two opposition parties with parliamentary representation (the Christian-Democratic Movement, New Rights Party) broke ranks and signed a political agreement with the governing party. The changes should come up for a legislative vote this fall.

Under the proposed reform, parliament would expand from 150 to 190 seats; most of the seats (107) would be apportioned according to the share of the vote that a political party received in an election. The remaining seats would go to the winners of first-past-the-post contests, or so-called “single-mandate” constituencies.

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Molly Corso is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.

Georgia: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back on Election Law Reform?

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