NGO: majoritarian boundaries unfairly distribute voice in self-gov’t bodies

  • The Young Georgian Lawyers’ Association notes that some majoritarian districts are large, while others are small, however both large and small districts elect the same number of majoritarian deputies to local self-government bodies. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 21 Sep 2021 - 15:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Young Georgian Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) has filed a lawsuit demanding proportional voice in self government bodies be given to election districts based on population size. 

The NGO notes that some majoritarian districts are large, while others are small, however both large and small districts elect the same number of majoritarian deputies to local self-government bodies. 

For example, a voter from both Mtatsminda and Saburtalo districts elects one representative in the Tbilisi City Council. The number of registered voters in Saburtalo is 134,582 and in Mtatsminda it is 53,884. As the number of voters living in Saburtalo is 2.5 times higher than the number of registered voters in Mtatsminda, the weight of the registered voters in Saburtalo districts is 2.5 times less than the weight of the number of registered voters in Mtatsminda”, reads an official statement of GYLA.

GYLA says that according to the established practice of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, the primary ‘purpose and basis of the exercise of the right to vote is to reflect the will of the citizens in the final results of elections’. Consequently, an important component of this right is the ability of voters to influence the outcome of elections.

Following the disputed norms, the loss of the weight and impact of the electorate's vote deprives the voter of the opportunity to exercise his/ her active suffrage effectively. In contrast, the chances of those voters, whose vote weight has increased, have a possibility of an increased impact on the election results", says GYLA.

GYLA notes that such an electoral system deprives citizens of equal opportunities and fails to ensure that elections are held in accordance with the Constitution and that the will of the electorate is adequately reflected in the final results of the elections, which is contrary to the principle of democratic governance”, says GYLA.

The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze said to question the municipal electoral system on the pretext that the majoritarian constituencies are not thoroughly equalized is 'complete nonsense’.

It is annoying that two weeks before the municipal elections an organisation with the status of a non-governmental organisation is planning to create a problem for the elections with a new absurd lawsuit”, said Kobakhidze.

Responding to Irakli Kobakhidze, the Head of GYLA Nika Simonishvili noted that the sole purpose of the lawsuit is to ensure that the voices of all citizens have equal weight and their voices not to become the subject of political agreements. 

Georgia will elect mayors and city council members on October 2, 2021.

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