Ruling party leader Ivanishvili says he’s “disappointed” bill was scrapped, accuses opposition

The founder of the Georgian Dream ruling party Bidzina Ivanishvili says that he has failed to convince majoritarian MPs to vote for the bill. Photo: Georgian Dream press office., 14 Nov 2019 - 16:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

The founder and head of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Bidzina Ivanishvili says that he has been supportive of a transition to a fully proportional election system from 2020 and is “very sorry” the GD-proposed bill was rejected earlier today.

Ivanishvili has accused the United National Movement (UNM) and the European Georgia parliamentary opposition parties of “staging provocations which have led to the scrapping of the bill.”

I am disappointed that our proposal to transition to a fully proportional election system from 2020 has not been approved,” Ivanishvili stated.

He said that it was the GD which initially proposed and adopted constitutional changes back in 2017, allowing the move to fully proportional elections from 2024 [at that time GD had 116 MPs, while the adoption of constitutional changes require at least 113 votes in the 150-member parliament].

Ivanishvili stated the majoritarian MPs of the ruling party were against the fully proportional elections even in 2017 that is why “through a consensus” they accepted the change starting from 2024.

He says that the opposition “was strongly opposing the election changes and boycotted the process” in 2017.

If the opposition supported the election bill in 2017, there will be no discussions regarding the issue now and the decision on the move to the fully proportional elections from 2020 would have been made several years ago,” Ivanishvili said.

Opposition leaders have taken to streets. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

He stated that the ruling party has responded to “fair public protests” in the summer “very adequately,” and proposed the holding of 2020 parliamentary elections on a fully proportional system and a zero per cent election threshold.

I was the initiator of the idea, and the ruling party, despite the hesitation of majoritarian MPs, accepted the idea,” Ivanishvili said.

He reiterated that GD majoritarian MPs “have never been happy with the fully proportional system, but we have achieved a consensus inside the party.”

Ivanishvili stated that “continued provocations of the opposition and the abuse of the ruling party MPs” just before the voting of the bill discouraged the GD majoritarian MPs to vote for it and the bill was scrapped.

Demonstrators who participated in the June rallies and the opposition have blocked Rustaveli Avenue in central Tbilisi and announced the “largest rallies ever” after a ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party proposed election bill was scraped earlier today as many GD MPs refused to vote for it.

 Passing the bill, which allowed the conduct of 2020 parliamentary elections with a fully proportional election system and a zero election threshold, needed at least 113 votes in the 150-member parliament.

Three MPs of the ruling party voted against and 37 others abstained from voting the bill which was drafted by 93 GD MPs in the summer.