The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of ISFED and GYLA

On April 14, 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of six individuals represented by ISFED and GYLA representatives before the Constitutional Court. The applicants requested the Court to find norms of the Election Code unconstitutional that allowed a party and an electoral bloc only to nominate candidacies for offices of Mayor and Gamgebeli. 

ISFED and GYLA argued that the impugned norms forced individuals to join a political force in order to be able to run in Mayoral and Gamgebeli elections, which violates para.2, Article 26 of the Constitution protecting the right of a citizen of Georgia to decide not to participate in party activities. 

The applicants explained that the impugned norms violate Articles 28 and 29 of the Constitution. Article 18 guarantees the right of a citizen of Georgia to participate in elections. It also implies that a citizen of Georgia has the right to be elected or participate in elections as a candidate. Article 29 guarantees the right of an individual to hold a state office, while the disputed norms prevent independent candidates for an office of a Mayor or Gamgebeli from exercising this right. 

The Constitutional Court Explained that mayors and Gamgebelis as executive organs discharge public authority in local self-government bodies. Therefore, they are both state offices for the purposes of Article 29 of the Constitution of Georgia. The disputed norm creates a barrier for holding a state office. Prohibiting an individual from participating in public administration due to his or her political or ideological views is unacceptable. 

The Court believes that the impugned norms curtail the right of citizens’ initiative groups to nominate candidates for Mayor/Gamgebeli elections and by-elections, which violates Art.28 of the Constitution that provides constitutional guarantees for the voting right in conjunction with paragraphs 1 and 2 of Art.29 of the Constitution that guarantee the right of an individual to hold a state office.