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Election Reform Initiatives in Party Platforms

Recent years have been marked by intense debates among political parties and civil society groups about flaws in the existing electoral systems and possible solutions. Election monitoring NGOs believe and major political unions agree that the existing electoral system allows an outcome that is disproportionate and unfair. 

As you may know, by virtue of the Georgian Constitution and the Election Code, the Georgia Parliament is elected through a mixed electoral system with 73 members elected through single-mandate constituencies and 77 members proportionally through one nationwide constituency. 

In 2015, NGOs and opposition parties with involvement of the president reached a consensus for replacing the existing electoral system with a regional-proportional voting system. The memorandum about the electoral reform was signed by the following parties: the Free Democrats; the United National Movement; Christian-Democratic Party; the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia; the New Rights; the Georgian Troupe; European Democrats; United Democratic Movement; Left-Wing Alliance; the National Democratic Party; Free Georgia; Freedom – Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s Way; Civil Alliance for Freedom; Political Movement of Georgian Law Enforcement and Armed Forces Veterans and Patriots. 

Two projects of Constitutional amendments were initiated in the Georgian Parliament for changes in the electoral reform, including one by the ruling political force – the Georgian Dream Coalition, offering to replace the existing electoral system with the regional-proportional voting system following the 2016 parliamentary elections. 

The second initiative was put forward by opposition parties that supported scrapping of the majoritarian component for the 2016 parliamentary elections and replacing it with the regional-proportional model. The opposition parties had collected 200,000 voter signatures to turn the initiative into the draft Constitutional law.  

Neither of the drafts gained sufficient support in the parliament. At the same time, opposition parties and NGOs agreed on another option for reforming the electoral system - the so-called German Model, which did not require changes in the Constitution. The model was supported by the Republican Party, that formerly supported the Constitutional draft initiated by the coalition Georgian Dream, and submitted the draft of amendments to the Election Code for transitioning to the German Model. 

This way, majority of political parties agreed on the need to reform the electoral system. ISFED examined the extent to which political party platforms reflect their views on the electoral system. 

Electoral System Reform in

Party Platforms



Did the party have a position about changes in the electoral system?

Is the position reflected in their platform?

Georgian Dream



United National Movement



Republican Party



Free Democrats



National Forum



Alliance of Patriots



Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia

As noted earlier, the Georgian Dream initiated a constitutional draft for transitioning to regional-proportional system for 2020 and it was actively involved in deliberations about the electoral system; however, their platform for the 2016 parliamentary elections does not include any plans for replacing the existing electoral system with any one concrete model. 

In its platform the Georgian Dream discusses importance of the electoral reform in general and states that “for development of political system and institutionalization of party system, legal framework for political parties and elections should be further improved and the electoral system should be revised within the constitutional reform.” 

The United National Movement

Although the United National Movement (UNM) was very outspoken about the need to reform the electoral system, their platform does not include any vision about the reform. It only discusses the need to have a legitimate representative body for IDPs, promising regular and direct elections for Abkhazia A/R Supreme Council and the head of the temporary administration of Tskhinvali Region.  

Free Democrats 

Similar to the UNM, platform of the Free Democrats focuses on election rights of IDPs and it does not include any plans for future transformation of the electoral system, despite the fact that the Free Democrats were active supporters of the electoral reform. 

Free Democrats believe that IDPs have been deprived of their right to elect and be elected in Abkhazia A/R representative body and they promise to restore IDP voting rights and conduct elections for Abkhazia representative body (the Supreme Council). In addition, they believe that the Supreme Council of Abkhazia should be delegated with the power to participate in all negotiations of strategic importance about de-occupation of Abkhazia, and in elaboration and implementation of IDP strategy. 

The Georgian Republican Party 

The platform of the Georgian Republican Party offers discusses in detail the party’s vision about changes for the local, parliamentary and presidential elections. 

The Republican Party believes that the existing parliamentary electoral system should be replaced by a proportional one, where all 150 members of the parliament will be elected through single-mandate constituencies. This way, election outcomes will be proportional to voters’ will, including will of voters in the regions. 

The Republican Party believes that “the local electoral system should be replaced by a softer system” and as an example it proposes to change the electoral model with “proportional voting system with open lists, or multi-member districts combined with it, in order to increase representation of different social groups in Sakrebulos.”

The party platform also provides the list of measures for reforming municipal arrangement. 

It also proposes changes in rules for election of the president and states that the president should be elected for a five-year term by the parliament or by the electoral college comprising of MPs and delegates elected from local self-government representative bodies. 

In addition, the party platform focuses on importance of women representation in political decision-making but does not provide any concrete measures. 

The National Forum

The party platform does not include any plans for changes in the electoral system. However, it offers recruitment of judges for first instance and second instance courts through general public polling (elections), in consideration of administrative/territorial divisions and in single-member (preferably) and/or multi-member majoritarian districts in cities and regions.

Alliance of Patriots 

According to the party platform, the Alliance of Patriots believes that the majoritarian system should be abolished but it does not offer any concrete electoral system to replace the existing one. 

The Alliance of Patriots also believes that rules for setting up special polling stations should be amended and special polling stations should no longer be set up in military units. 


The platform of the Democratic Movement – United Georgia does not address electoral issues. The Labor Party and the bloc Paata Burchuladze – State for the People are yet to present their platforms. 

In light of the above, platforms of two of the parties – the Republican Party and the Georgian Dream – address the need to reform the electoral system as a priority, but only one – the Republican Party has presented concrete measures for changing the electoral system. Other political unions have not addressed the issue. 

Clearly, unfortunately, in their platforms parties have not included reform of the electoral system as an important matter, despite the fact that most of these parties believed it to be a major pre-election challenge. Reforming the electoral system will remain an important part of political discussions for the next four years and therefore, it is important for public to be aware of stances of different political parties about this issue. 

By Giorgi Noniashvili