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MEPs praise Georgian electoral reforms, express hope for fair parliamentary elections in October

MEPs shared their impressions on Georgia’s reform of its electoral system and on progress made under the Association Agreement earlier today during a debate in the European Parliament. 

In an address read by MEP Kati Piri during the debate, MEP Sven Mikser said that Georgia had carried out ‘ambitious reforms and achieved a lot’. 

Georgia has recently gone through a period of tension between the government and the political opposition over changes in the electoral system, and at the end of June, the country’s parliament passed constitutional amendments aimed at ensuring greater proportional representation,” Mikser said in his address, noting there is a need for freedom of the media and the need for equal access to the media for all political parties during the election campaign season.

He added that if the coronavirus-related situation ‘allows us to do so, the European Parliament will send an observation mission’. 

He also touched upon the Russian occupation and condemned so-called borderisation activities. 

MEP Anna Fotyga said that despite ‘obstacles and difficulties’ Georgia maintains its Euro-Atlantic orientation and especially in terms of security and defense.

She called on the government of Georgia to hold fair and transparent parliamentary elections.

I call on the Georgian authorities to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. I also call for the release of Giorgi Rurua in order to implement the March 8 agreement reached with all opposition leaders”, said Fotyga.

MEP Viola von Cramon said that ‘we should support Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and its European future’. She also emphasised the new electoral system of Georgia and also the country’s fight against the Covid-19. 

Despite the fact that Georgia is a leader in the region some problems still remain to be solved. In terms of domestic policy, billionaire Ivanishvili’s [pro-Russian] governance threatens democracy, while in terms of foreign policy Russia’s protracted hybrid war threatens Georgia’s sovereignty with military occupation, creeping annexation and cyber-attacks”, said von Cramon, who also added that the justice system in Georgia should be more transparent.

MEP Marina Kaljurand said that ‘the Georgian people deserve our solidarity’. She also welcomed Georgia’s recent electoral reform and called on the government as well as opposition parties in Georgia to ensure objective, fair and free elections. 

The 2020 parliamentary elections will be held in a different manner this year: 120 seats in parliament will be distributed based on the votes received in proportional elections, while remaining 30 per the votes received in majoritarian elections (instead of the 76/73 electoral system).

Spots in parliament in the proportional elections will be won by parties and election blocs which receive at least one per cent of the vote. 

Blocs will be allowed in the 2020 elections. However, with a different election threshold. The percentage of votes received by election blocs must amount to at least one per cent number of parties in the bloc.

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