More MPs – Is It Better?
The law on introduction of constitutional amendments on the change of the number of People’s Assembly members has only passed its first reading. However, this issue can be considered already settled, since it has been passed almost unanimously – only one vote “nay.
New seats in the Abkhaz Parliament will be created at the expense of adjustment of the electoral system. Until now, there were only majoritarian MPs, who were directly elected by the population in their respective districts, formed before the election. The proposed new electoral system will be mixed: 27 majoritarian MPs and 28 MPs, named by the election winner parties (proportional scheme).
Speaker Valery Bganba’s argument is that ‘if majoritarian MPs are a live link with the population, I hope, the party members will become the professional part of the Parliament.’
The ease with which the constitutional law passed the first reading caused humor in the social networks. The thing is that the Parliament had considered the aforesaid issue in summer, but failed to pass it. The arguments of those, who ‘killed’ the bill, were as follows: 1) shift to a mixed system will depersonalize MPs; 2) lobby groups will occupy the Parliament; 3) Parliament maintenance expenses will double and will be too great a strain on the budget.
Then it was suggested to increase the number of MPs from 35 to 45.
After the failure, President Raul Khajimba’s administration (that had submitted the bill for consideration to the People’s Assembly), updated and re-submitted the draft to the parliament. The only novelty it contained was the number of MP seats – already 55. And this time the bill has passed. One of the explanations of the aforesaid is as follows: majoritarian MPs have had full control over the situation and did not allow this “status quo to be changed. Whereas now, thanks to the increase in the number of seats, the number of majority districts has actually remained the same. Consequently, majoritarians have got hope they will have seats in the new Parliament as well.
Facebook about this:
• ‘Hooray! Now every clan in Abkhazia will be represented in Parliament!’
• ‘German car industry has no idea, how dramatically its sales are going to increase since 2017.’
• At present, there is a majoritarian electoral system in Abkhazia. Both, the initiative groups and the political parties, can nominate their candidates in all eight districts.
• In July 2015, 19 MPs supported the bill on introduction of constitutional amendments on the change of number of the People’s Assembly members. There were 5 “nay votes and 4 abstentions. Finally, the bill failed to gain the required 2/3 of votes.
Next parliamentary elections in Abkhazia are due in March 2017.