The Elections


The election marathon is approaching the finish line. Just hours are left before the historical elections. Parties and politicians are bidding farewell to talk-show audiences, hoping that at 8 o’clock on October 8, the bulletins of their respective parties will turn out to be the majority.

Despite such optimism from their side, the Constitution and election code do not give any ground for optimism at all. If the events on the day of the elections develop the way the social polls suggest, we can be sure that the elections won’t finish at 8 pm on October 8. On the contrary, a whole new process will begin, which might continue until the end of October, resulting even in the necessity of a second round of parliamentary elections.

According to the Constitution, the deadline for the first parliamentary session is October 28, so within 20 days of the elections. This constitutional norm should be executed in the Kutaisi parliamentary building and a minimum of 100 newly elected MPs should participate. As they say, the devil is in the details. Which political power will have 76 of these 100 needed to approve the new prime minister and new government? To put it simply, if billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream wants to keep its power, on October 9th the names of their 76 MPs should be known, while the remaining 24 can be from, let’s say, the United National Movement or any other oppositional party. But is Georgian Dream or any other party capable of doing this today? The answer is a resounding no.

One very important factor has an effect on these upcoming elections, one which we have never witnessed before: Georgian Dream has agreed to the 50 percent barrier for the majoritarians. When in power, Saakashvili and his party were categorically opposed to this because they knew the result: if the proportional results of the governmental party are not notably high, and a second round of elections is scheduled in most of the regions, it will cause such a stir that nobody will be able to settle the consequent chaos.

Apart from this, as strange as it may seem, as a rule, in the second round most of the electorate will vote according to the results shown in the proportional elections. So, if they see that Misha is “catching up” and “might win” – they will vote for his candidacy. Such is the psychology of Georgian voters. Especially when we know that the total number of GD supporters is less (and nobody disagrees) than the total number of those opposing that party. Expert Gia Khukhashvili pointed to these legislative nuances saying, well before the elections, that the GD majoritarians would not be able to pass the 50 percent barrier and that without these majoritarians, it would be impossible to approve the government.

“According to the polls, the chances of a second round of elections are high. Georgian Dream might be leading with majoritarian MPs in most of the regions, though they still can’t reach the 50 percent barrier. Therefore, the “luxury” of announcing their victory on October 9th will be postponed for another two weeks, and after this it is possible that everything will turn on its head,” Khukhashvili told newspaper Resonance some two months ago.

On October 8, the voters will elect 77 MPs according to the proportional system from the party lists, while the remaining 73 will be elected according to the majoritarian system. The current government will try to compose the elected government before the second round of elections is held, which means that this should happen during the first round. Otherwise, chances are that it won’t be able to compose the government the way it wants and it will have to give up more to the other parties.

Zaza Jgarkava

06 October 2016 20:45