Democratic backsliding in Georgia?
Why are electoral procedures important in the Georgian context?
Most people would agree that the electoral system is of vital importance to a well-functioning democracy. While there is no consensus that any one voting procedure is superior, in the Georgian case there are convincing arguments for why the country should move to proportional elections and abolish the majoritarian system, which is essentially “first-past-the-post” with a 50% threshold.
Currently, Georgia has a mixed voting system: 77 members of parliament (MP) are elected through proportional party lists, whereas 73 MPs come from single-mandate majoritarian districts. This system can lead to a situation where a party that does not have the support of the majority of voters (in the proportional voting segment) may nonetheless win a majority in the parliament. In fact, this happened in the 2016 parliamentary elections: the GD received 48.7% of the popular vote, but because their candidates won in 71 out of 73 majoritarian districts, the GD gained 115 parliamentary mandates out of 150 total seats.