On July 15, 2020, Geocase organized a virtual discussion on external & internal dimensions of the electoral reform of Georgia. Within the virtual meeting Mr Kakhaber Kutchava, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia, Dr Khatuna Burkadze, Research Fellow at Geocase, Mr Oleg (Bacho) Tortladze, Research Fellow at Geocase and Ms Ketevan Chachava, Chairwoman of Sector 3 addressed the audience and talked about the importance of the constitutional amendments, its external and internal dimensions and the development of Georgian electoral system.
Mr Victor Kipiani, Geocase Chair was a moderator of the online discussion. Mr Victor Kipiani highlighted: ‘In the current constitution, changes to the electoral system are not ordinary amendments: they are instead a shift to a qualitatively different model which also involves the formation of stable political and party standards as well as ensuring wide possibilities for participation in defining the country’s domestic and foreign policies. Given the special importance of this aim, it was very desirable for every main political party to be involved into parliamentary discussions of these constitutional amendments; and alongside the electoral agenda, this would have sent a very clear message of Georgia’s readiness to establish a new code of behaviour in politics’. ‘This is why both the disappointment that diplomats from our partner countries felt when this process of separate political groups was abandoned, and the praise they subsequently expressed following the adoption of these amendments, were equally understandable and noteworthy’- he added.
Mr Kakhaber Kutchava, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia emphasized that the international community, as well as the facilitators of the political dialogue, commended those who ensured the successful passing of the reform package and labelled this momentum as ‘historic’ in modern parliamentary life of Georgia.
Dr Khatuna Burkadze, Research Fellow at Geocase highlighted: ‘In years Georgia aspires to become an integral part of the European and Euro-Atlantic structures. Currently, the electoral reform is a precondition for maintaining accomplishments and continuation of reforms on the European and Euro-Atlantic path’. ‘The leading mechanism through which the state improves the quality of democracy is political pluralism, which guarantees the power-sharing and greater political representation. Other than that, the proportional electoral system is the most compatible with the parliamentary system, in which political parties learn cooperation through deliberation and consent. It is believed that the consensus-based policies enhance procedural democracy and produce democratic political outcomes’ –she added.
Mr Oleg (Bacho) Tortladze, Research Fellow mentioned: ‘Depolarizing the political environment and consolidating society around basic election principles are essential preconditions for a democratic election campaign and voting. Political parties and media outlets have a major responsibility in the implementation of the ODIHR and PACE recommendations and in ensuring a peaceful election. Personal attacks should shift to topic-based debates. Media organizations should set minimum ethical standards and ensure balanced coverage of election topics despite their political affiliations’.
Ms Ketevan Chachava, Chairwoman of Sector 3 talked about recommendations of the international organizations and challenges of elections including disinformation.
Watch the discussion recording here