US Embassy releases text of Memorandum of Understanding between Georgian political parties on electoral system
08 March, 2020
US Embassy releases text of Memorandum of Understanding between Georgian political parties on electoral system
The US Embassy to Georgia has released the text of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the opposition and the government today. “The undersigned parties agree to support changes to the election system based on the following draft text of the Constitution’s transitional provision defining the rules for the 2020 Parliamentary Elections.

The elected Parliament shall consist of 120 members elected through the proportional system and 30 members elected through the majoritarian system. The electoral threshold for proportional elections shall be
set at 1%.

A capping mechanism will define that no single party that receives less than 40% of the votes cast is allowed to receive a majority of seats in the Parliament. Further caps and provisions will be introduced in the legislation with the am of facilitating a more proportional distribution of mandates relative to the votes received by the parties.

The 30 electoral districts will be drawn in compliance with the relevant ruling of the Georgian Constitutional Court and the Venice Commission recommendation, suggesting that the deviation from the average electorate size of districts should not exceed 15%. Preference should always be given to creating districts within the same region unless the distribution of the electorate requires otherwise. Up to three limited exceptions from the above districting rules can be introduced throughout the country in the interest of encouraging the representation of ethnic minority groups, citizens residing in mountainous regions, or for accommodating particular geographic needs.

The Parliamentary majority will publicly present its proposed mapping of electoral districts, in line with the principles described above, no later than ten days from initiating the constitutional amendments in the Parliament.

Should there be early parliamentary elections between 2020 and 2024, the first such election will be held based on the election system guiding the 2020 elections. Any subsequent elections will be held based on the fully proportional election system as foreseen for the 2024 Parliamentary Elections.

The undersigned party declares full support for the above changes and commits to ensure its affirmative votes in the Parliament to pass the constitutional amendments”, reads the Memorandum of Understanding.

Statement of the political dialog facilitators on agreement

Facilitators of a political dialogue have released a statement on the agreement achieved at today’ meeting between the opposition and the government.

“We congratulate the participants of the political dialogue on today’s successful agreement, which represents a crucial step towards depolarization and normalization of the political environment in Georgia in the run-up to the parliamentary elections later this year.

Today’s agreement foresees an election system for 2020 based on 120 proportional mandates and 30 majoritarian mandates, a fair composition of election districts, a 1% threshold, and a cap recognizing that no single party that wins less than 40% of the votes should be able to get its own majority in the next parliament.

The agreement is accompanied by a joint statement among the sides outlining the agreement and recognizing the wider objective of holding free and fair elections, including the necessity of addressing actions that could be perceived as inappropriate politicization of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes and of avoiding any such actions in the future.

We recognize today’s agreement as a stepping-stone on Georgia’s democratic path. We call on all sides to adhere to it and to safeguard its successful adoption in Parliament and subsequent implementation, for the benefit of the people and country of Georgia”, reads the statement.

Outcry from political figures

US Congressman Adam Kinzinger was among the first foreign politicians who assessed the agreement between the parties in Georgia.

"My heartfelt “congrats” to the people of #Georgia for reaching an agreement on the 2020 parliamentary elections" - he wrote on twitter.

"Democracy is hard work, but worth it. Speaker Talakvadze and many others deserve appreciation for their work. Larger statement to follow later" - he said.

This is a great benefit for all Georgians, - EUAmbassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell said after the meeting at the US ambassador's residence.

He said he was pleased to announce that an agreement had been achieved.

“All parties achieved an agreement, which is reflected in our statement that has already been posted on our website. I want to congratulate everyone that compromise has been achieved”, the Ambassador said.

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