Petition about the Local Self-Government Election System
In January 2014, the Parliamentary Inter-fractional Group started working on the reform of election legislation, which should serve as the bases for conducting 2014 elections.
We view modification of the election system as a priority for municipal elections. Current election system has long been criticized by NGOs and political parties. Along with the national organizations, Venice Commission and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) recommended that the electoral system for both parliamentary and local self-government elections be reviewed in order to ensure the equality of suffrage. (EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR DEMOCRACY THROUGH LAW (VENICE COMMISSION) AND OSCE OFFICE FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS (OSCE/ODIHR) JOINT OPINION ON THE DRAFT ELECTION CODE OF GEORGIA, 2011, Page 8.para 22) Nevertheless, no political decision has yet been made about modification of the system, which in view of the short period of time remaining inhibits implementation of key amendments for the improvement of the election system.
• Fails to ensure that voters’ will is translated into mandates in a proportionate manner;
• There are many lost votes;
• The principle of equality of suffrage is violated;
• The system grants a considerable unwarranted advantage to the ruling party;
Consequently, we propose the following:
1. Winning candidate in elections for Mayor and Gamgebeli should receive 50% +1 votes. It is essential that same procedures should apply to election of Mayors and Gamgebelis
2. Current single-mandate constituencies should be annulled and substituted by multi-mandate majoritarian constituencies for the upcoming 2014 municipal elections.
The government shall make political decision about the issue in a timely manner and shall establish the election system that will promote conduct of fair elections and improve reflection of voters’ will in the outcome of elections. Furthermore, any decision made about the election system should be based wide-scale public consensus.
Implementing these changes are to the minimum essentially important for the conduct of elections in a fair and competitive environment and are doable within the time remaining before the municipal elections.
The petition is open for all NGOs and political unions to sign. Joining the petition in no way means that the organization concerned has no other recommendations for improvement of the election system.
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
Transparency International – Georgia
Open Society – Georgia Foundation