NGO Urge the Parliament of Georgia and the Constitution Commission to Start Immediate Discussions on the Election Reform

Non-governmental organizations urge the Parliament of Georgia as well as the State constitution Commission to start immediate discussions on implementation of changes in the election system of Georgia. Recently NGOs have issued a number of statements reiterating the necessity of changes in the election system. All organizations specializing in elections unanimously recognize the necessity and the importance of commencing the work to change the system.  

Even though certain changes introduced in frames of the election reform in 2013 and 2014 have been positive, overall no fundamental changes have been made in the election legislation that would have significantly improved the election environment, disappointing public expectations based on promises made by the new government. 

There are many aspects of the reform that civil society sector, political parties and other stakeholders have long been calling for, first and foremost including the election system, regulations for staffing election administrations, voter lists and more. New regulations should ensure equality of votes, realization of proportion between votes and mandates, maximum reduction of the so-called lost votes, increase of women representation, and proportionate representation of minorities. 

The Inter-Factional Task Force on election issues set up in the Parliament of Georgia two times was presented with a number of recommendations about foregoing issues and more. Even though the IFTF discussed some of the issues, no substantial changes were made, citing lack of time remaining until elections and difficulty to make comprehensive changes as the reason. 

In order to avoid repetition of past practices, we urge the Georgian authorities to express their political will for election reform and to set up an election task force with the involvement of all interested stakeholders for spearheading fundamental election reform. The task force should enjoy high level of political trust, to the extent that its decisions are treated with consideration by the authorities. In view of the impending parliamentary elections, we believe that the work on election reform should commence in a timely manner to guarantee fair and competitive election environment. 

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
Transparency International – Georgia
Center for the Development of Civil Society and Democracy
Public Movement Multinational Georgia
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)