Ruling party says MPs will vote in favour of fully proportional system for 2020 elections

The Georgian Dream ruling party has had a meeting earlier today regarding its own bill to transition to a fully proportional system of elections. Photo: Georgian Dream press office., 13 Nov 2019 - 12:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Dream (GD) ruling party says that most of its MPs will vote for the party-proposed bill to transfer to a fully proportional elections in 2020 parliamentary race amid  fears of the opposition that the bill may be scrapped.

After today’s meeting of the ruling party, chaired by the head and the founder of the Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili, GD MPs said that Ivanishvili and the “majority” of the party support the bill.

The MPs said that no model voting took place to clarify how many members of the GD refuse to vote for the bill.

Ruling party MP Dachi Beraia said that about 10 MPs "have stood against" the fully proportional elections from 2020 during the meeting. 

The number of those opposing the bill inside the ruling party will not be sufficient for the bill not to be passed [at least 113 votes are needed to pass the bill, the GD has less than100]. The votes of the opposition MPs are likely to fill the gap,” ruling party MP Giorgi Volski said.

The Georgian parliamentary minority stated yesterday that they will support the Georgian Dream ruling party bill on moving to fully proportional elections from 2020 as they fear that the ruling party may reject its own bill and retain the mixed-electoral system for next year's parliamentary elections.

The leader of the United National Movement opposition party Grigol Vashadze has stated following the GD meeting that if the bill is scrapped the "Georgian Dream will see the most large-scale street rallies." 

The ruling party accepted the conduct of 2020 parliamentary elections on a fully proportional system amid the June public protests, also offering a zero election threshold.

Passing the bill needs the support of 113 MPs of total 150. Photo: Parliament of Georgia press office. 

The opposition has welcomed the move to the fully proportional voting system, but said that the zero per cent threshold would divide the opposition and increase the chances of the ruling party winning the race.

The opposition bill, which read that Georgia should have moved to the fully proportional elections starting 2020 with a three percent election threshold and election blocs should be allowed to participate, was rejected yesterday.

What was the system like in the past?

  • Georgia has had a mixed electoral system with 77 seats in its 150-member parliament allocated proportionally under the party-list among parties or electoral blocs which cleared a five per cent threshold in the race.
  • The remaining 73 MPs were elected in 73 single-member districts, known as “majoritarian” mandates. A majoritarian MP candidate has to gain more than 50 per cent of votes to take a seat in the legislative body.
  • The new constitution of Georgia, which was adopted in 2017, and which came into play after last year’s presidential elections, reads that Georgia would move to fully proportional elections from 2024, which is now subject to change.