President Saakashvili said on November 11 he was strongly against of changing existing rule of electing majoritarian lawmakers from the single-mandate constituencies.
The announcement came a day after the ruling party and the opposition agreed to start regular meetings from November 17 in order to develop new election code.
“There are lots of things on which an agreement is probably possible,” Saakashvili told journalists while visiting village of Shamgona at the breakaway Abkhazia’s administrative border.
“There have been demands to scrap regional representatives [in the Parliament] and to keep only party-lists… to reduce or to abolish regions’ representatives in the Georgian Parliament – I can state it right now, that I will not at all agree on that,” he said.
Saakashvili was most likely referring to one of the points in package of proposals outlined by the group of eight parties early in October, according to which the current rule of electing majoritarian lawmakers should be replaced with so called “regional-proportional system”.
Under the current rule 75 lawmakers in 150-seat Parliament are elected through winner-takes-all system in country’s 75 single-mandate constituencies.
Electing majoritarian MPs through “regional-proportional system”, as eight opposition parties have proposed, means that parties or election blocs will nominate several candidates in each constituency. In this case instead of currently existing single-mandate constituencies, larger multi-mandate constituencies will be introduced and number of seats available in each constituency will depend on the region’s size. Seats in the parliament, under this system, will be allocated proportionally, based on the votes received by parties in a particular constituency. Under this system those parties, which clear 5% electoral threshold in that particular constituency, will be able to endorse majoritarian MPs to the Parliament from that constituency.
This rule, proposed by the eight opposite parties, will increase their chances to take more majoritarian seats in the Parliament. Under the existing system, the ruling National Movement Party managed to win 71 out of 75 majoritarian seats in the May, 2008 elections.
Saakashvili said on November 11, that some opposition parties “have no idea what the problems in the villages are and they want to leave these [villages] without having their representatives in the Parliament.”
“It is possible to negotiate on everything, exempt of an issue that can leave residents of Shamgona village without their representative in the Parliament,” he said.
In his remarks Saakashvili welcomed the launch of the negotiations on election system reform, describing it as “very important process.”
“At last we’ve learnt to sit down and talk with each other. Instead of learning talking on the language of ultimatums and hysteria - ‘all or nothing’, and instead of setting deadlines and [instead] of being oriented towards the past, we’ve learnt civilized talk with each other and listening to each other,” he said.