US Ambassador Degnan: rejected electoral bill ‘risks the tyranny of the majority’

US Ambassador Kelly Degnan says Georgian political parties should keep their promise and approve an electoral bill to lower the election threshold. Photo: US Embassy press office., 02 Dec 2021 - 16:56, Tbilisi,Georgia

US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan says that if the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party rejects an electoral bill which would establish a two percent election threshold for the next two parliamentary elections, the move may ‘risk [establishing] the tyranny of the majority.’ 

After the adoption of the bill on its first reading in September 2021, according to the EU-mediated agreement signed by the ruling and opposition parties the same year, the GD said that they had ‘no obligation’ to support the amendments because the party withdrew from the agreement in July of this year. 

The GD says that if they decide to vote for the changes, ‘it will be a gift to the opposition.’ 

Degnan stated earlier today that ‘some do not seem to understand that a democracy requires a plurality of views. One person, one party ruling – everything works against that.’

She says that if Georgia maintains a five percent election threshold ‘two or three parties’ may take seats in the state legislature. 

That is not the trajectory that would allow greater diversity, greater plurality in the parliament which would allow more Georgian views and perspectives  to be represented there,” Ambassador Degnan said. 

She also said that the approval of four new judges to the country’s Supreme Court by the parliament yesterday was ‘disappointing.’ 

It is hard to understand why there was such a need to rush through these appointments, despite the commitment to undertake meaningful and comprehensive judicial reform, especially when so many other challenges facing this country have been neglected,” Degnan said. 

She stated that Georgia now has four more judges to the Supreme Court who have been appointed ‘through a process that was not transparent and accountable.’