Press release July 1, 2020
Georgia: Government and Opposition Join Forces on Electoral Reform Compromise
The achievement will bring about greater political pluralism and trust in Georgia’s electoral processes.
In response to the approval of electoral reforms by the Georgian parliament, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“We welcome the news of Georgia’s successful passage of electoral reforms, long sought by both its citizens and international observers,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “This important compromise between Georgia’s political parties will result in greater political pluralism and trust in Georgia’s electoral processes. This breakthrough also reflects the contribution of Georgia’s public and civil society in their successful months-long campaign to demand reform.”
In 2019, Georgians’ public dissatisfaction with the government’s performance on a panoply of domestic and international issues gave way to widespread protests. In response to public demands, the government promised significant reforms aimed at ending an electoral system that had allowed the consolidation of political power, including a shift to proportional representation in government. However, the ruling Georgian Dream party was either unable or unwilling to mobilize its support in Parliament and failed to deliver on its electoral reform promises, leading to the resumption of protests and calls from international observers for Georgia’s parliament to resume the legislative efforts.
Following additional months of protests and internationally facilitated dialogue, on March 8, 2020, leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties agreed to support a set of reforms that would define the rules for the 2020 parliamentary elections. On June 29, the Parliament of Georgia voted to adopt the amendments to the Constitution, with 117 of 142 lawmakers voting in favor.