US Ambassador to Georgia: rejection of the electoral reform risks the tyranny of the majority
U.S. Ambassador to Georgia: rejection of electoral reform is risky
US Ambassador Kelly Degnan responded to a statement by Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, who said that leaving the 5% electoral threshold is not a path to diversity in parliament. According to the ambassador, the “one-party system risks the tyranny of the majority”.
On December 1, Irakli Kobakhidze said that at this stage, amendments to the constitution, providing for the reform of the electoral system, will not be considered. According to him, the approval of the changes “will depend on the behavior and actions of various actors”.
According to the current constitution, parliamentary elections in 2024 must be held under a fully-proportional system and with a 5% threshold.
The initiation of amendments to the constitutional law followed a document by Charles Michel, according to which the next parliamentary elections should be held with a 2% barrier – the amendments have already been adopted by parliament in the first reading.
However, the Georgian Dream withdrew from the Charles Michel agreement and the deputy Shalva Papuashvili spoke about raising the threshold to 3% in the second reading.
“We believe that the lowering of the barrier was a positive development, and all political leaders agreed with this during the talks on April 19. It was one of the positive results of the 2020 elections, which brought nine political parties into parliament. Leaving the 5% barrier is definitely not the path to more involvement and more diversity in parliament.
This is not in line with the recommendations of international experts and is not approved by the political spectrum. It will be a pity if what the representatives of political parties, including the ruling party, have agreed on, is not implemented”, the US Ambassador said.
Irakli Kobakhidze responded to Kelly Degnan’s statement. He said that in most EU member states the electoral threshold is 5% and there is no tyranny in any of those countries.
“In regards to pluralism and diversity, this is ensured by the proportional electoral system, which was first introduced in Georgia by the Georgian Dream, and this system will be launched in 2024, which is fully consistent with the best European practices. In most EU member states, where a proportional electoral system has been established, there is a 5% electoral threshold”, Kobakhidze said.
Deputy Nikoloz Samkharadze also commented on the ambassador’s statement. According to him, there is no risk of tyranny in Georgia.
“There is a one-party rule in the USA and other countries, and there is no tyranny there”, Samkharadze said.