Int'l Partners Applaud Georgia's Adoption of Constitutional Amendments

International partners of Georgia congratulate the country on today's adoption of Constitutional amendments regarding the electoral system, as a result of which the 2020 parliamentary elections will be held in a model close to proportional.

The facilitator ambassadors have released a statement to congratulate Georgia on the adoption of Constitutional amendments.

"We warmly congratulate the Parliament of Georgia on today’s adoption of Constitutional amendments designed to increase parliamentary pluralism and allow for a more representative legislature. We recognize that these amendments reflect difficult compromises by Georgia’s political parties and commend those who ensured their successful passage. We regret the non-participation of some parties due to differences over the fulfillment of the 8 March agreement.

"We urge all parties now to engage in the adoption and effective implementation of the election reforms recommended by OSCE/ODIHR. These much-needed reforms will help ensure a free, fair, and transparent election environment where Georgians can cast their votes freely at the ballot box.

"Upholding the commitments contained in the 8 March agreement to address actions that could be perceived as inappropriate politicization of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes remains crucial to the integrity of the country’s democracy and rule of law, especially during this election period. We will continue to monitor closely these commitments in the run-up to the October elections.

"Finally, we would like all sides to respect our role and integrity as facilitators of this process," reads the statement.  

The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Georgia, Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC) and Claude Kern (France, ALDE), have welcomed the adoption of draft amendments.  

“The Assembly has consistently called for the introduction of a proportional election system in Georgia. That will now be the case as from the 2024 elections. In addition, as a result of the adoption of these Constitutional amendments, the system for the next elections in 2020 will now also be far more proportional than was previously the case, which potentially could allow for a more pluralist and representative parliament. We strongly welcome this, said the co-rapporteurs.

"At the same time, the co-rapporteurs regretted that the political agreement had not resulted in a less tense and polarised political environment. We call on all sides to seek co-operation over confrontation and to constructively pursue the implementation of the remainder of the 8 March political agreement. In addition, we call on all stakeholders to refrain from any statements and actions that could increase tensions and polarisation or otherwise negatively affect the environment needed for the conduct of genuinely democratic elections.

"As we have said, the political agreement, and the election system resulting from it, offer a window of opportunity to Georgia. We encourage all stakeholders to fully take that opportunity in the best interest of Georgia,” emphasized the co-rapporteurs.

The co-rapporteurs intend to visit the country in November with a view to finalizing their report on Georgia, which they will present to the Assembly during its January 2021 part-session.

"The United States applauds Georgia’s historic adoption of constitutional amendments that establish a more proportional electoral system," reads the statement released by the US Department of State.

“Enacted as a result of the important March 8 agreement among a majority of political parties, they will help promote greater stability and parliamentary pluralism in Georgia’s October parliamentary elections.

"We urge Georgia’s parliament to pass election reform legislation that fully incorporates OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, and Georgia’s authorities to effectively implement such legislation. A key test for Georgia’s democratic evolution will be the holding of a free, fair, and transparent electoral process that represents the choice of the Georgian people. The fairness of the pre-election and post-election periods is equally as important as the conduct of election day.

"The United States will continue to support Georgia’s efforts to strengthen its democracy, electoral practices, and the rule of law, as well as its broader Euro-Atlantic aspirations, which are among the best defenses against Russian aggression”, reads the statement.

MEP Viola Von Cramon has also congratulated Georgia on adopting the Constitutional Amendments and called on the parties to implement the ODIHR recommendations.

“Congrats Georgia with adopting the Constitutional Amendments. Pity not everyone partook in the voting. This achievement should make the upcoming Parliamentary Elections more democratic and fair.

"Still, further efforts of all parties are advised 4 continued democratic transition: Adopt an electoral code fully reflecting the ODIHR recommendations; Guarantee a peaceful and free pre-election period; Refrain from actions leading to polarization and violence; GD should resist the temptation of using administrative resources & unfair financial advantage”, the MEP tweeted.

Based on the draft amendments, the 2020 parliamentary elections will be held under the context of a mixed electoral system (120 proportional, 30 majoritarian), meaning that the next parliament will be composed of 120 MPs elected under the proportional system and 30 MPs elected under the majoritarian system, and with a 1% threshold.

The draft amendments also stipulate the so-called 40% locking mechanism. Particularly, the party which receives less than 40.54% votes under the proportional system, will not be able to form an independent majoritarian government.

By Ana Dumbadze 

Related Story: Parliament Approves Constitutional Amendments in the Third Reading

29 June 2020 16:25