OSCE/ODIHR: Choice of electoral system is sovereign decision of state

Parliamentary elections are scheduled in Georgia this year. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge

Agenda.ge, 06 Feb 2020 - 00:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has released its opinion on the draft amendments to the election code of Georgia.

The choice of the electoral system is a sovereign decision of the state, so long as the chosen electoral system is consistent with the state’s obligations under international law. International standards do not prescribe the choice of electoral systems”, it said.

The choice of an electoral system, whether it should be a majoritarian, proportional, hybrid, or alternative system, should be subject to a broad inclusive debate which allows relevant stakeholders to bring forward positive and negative effects of the reform”, the OSCE/ODIHR added.

It also underscores in its opinion that “any proposed changes have to be carefully considered, including their adoption by a large consensus among political parties” and “should be adopted through a process that facilitates a large consensus among political parties”.

The OSCE/ODIHR explained that the opinion was prepared by the request of the Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria.

Earlier that day, the opposition and civic activists resumed protests at Georgian parliament demanding an early transition to a proportional electoral system in time for the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year.

Protests were sparked in Tbilisi in November 2019 after parliament rejected the ruling party proposed election bill on an early transition to a fully proportional electoral system starting from 2020 instead of speculated 2024.

The early transition was the promise given by the ruling party to the demonstrators in Tbilisi in June 2019, during the rallies which were triggered by the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament.