Constitutional Appeal

The Constitutional Court upheld Ucha Nanuashvili’s claim

“Once and for all, there should be established an election system in the country that will be maximally fair and objective and, I believe, this decision will fulfill a catalyst function in this regard”, - this was the Public Defender’s reaction to a decision made by the Constitutional Court concerning constitutionality of the rule determining majoritarian election districts.

On May 28, 2015, the First Board of the Constitutional Court of Georgia adjudicated upon the claim - “Georgian Citizens Ucha Nanuashvili and Mikheil Sharashenidze against the Georgian Parliament” and found norms of the Election Code of Georgia that determine the rule of defining 73 single-mandate election districts unconstitutional.

According to disputed norms, for Parliamentary elections, each municipality, apart from those of Tbilisi, represents a single-mandate majoritarian election district while 10 majoritarian election districts are established in Tbilisi. According to claimants, in majoritarian parliamentary elections, votes were not of equal power. For example, 128 545 voters registered in Saburtalo election district were electing one majoritarian member of the Parliament while one majoritarian member of the Parliament in Kazbegi election district is elected by 5 810. Thus, the vote of a Kazbegi voter is 22 times more substantial than that of a voter of Saburtalo election district which indicates to discriminatory nature of the system.

According to the official webpage of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, the court explained with reference to importance of general elections right that it is necessary for the current election system to ensure free and equal reflection of will of people in the process of formation of state authority bodies.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia determined that by adopting disputed norms the Parliament of Georgia automatically linked election districts with municipalities without taking into account the number of voters registered in municipalities. This has led to significant digression from the principle of equality of votes and unequally diminished influence of the large number of voters on election processes.

The Georgian Parliament is authorized to itself determine both proportional and majoritarian election system models and specifics provided that constitutional rights and freedoms of Georgian citizens are safeguarded in this process.

Given all the above, the Constitutional Court of Georgia found now-disputed norms unconstitutional with respect to the article 14 (equality right) and the first paragraph of the article 28 (right to general elections) of the Georgian Constitution.

The constitutional claim was prepared by Ucha Nanuashvili in 2012 while the latter headed the Human Rights Centre.


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