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Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili commented upon the results of the local self-government elections at a government meeting on 17 June 2014. He focused upon the number of city council members elected by majoritarian rule and the distribution of seats among the political forces. The Prime Minister stated the following on this issue: ”As for those opposition parties which have an ambition for second place, I have the United National Movement in mind, just 6.1% of their majoritarian candidates were able to succeed. This is what we are talking about. Their actual rating is 6%.”

FactCheck

took interest in the Prime Minister’s statement and checked its accuracy. We tried to figure out how the political forces were distributed in the city councils and how proper it is to evaluate the ratings of political parties based upon the number of city council members elected by majoritarian rule.

The electorate elected 2,088 members (1,049 by majoritarian rule and 1,039 by proportion rule) to 71 local city councils in the local self-government elections in 2014. Besides that, city mayors in 12 self-governing cities and 59 gamgebelis in the rest of the municipalities were elected through direct vote. These are the first elections when city mayors and gamgebelis

have been elected through direct suffrage except for Tbilisi.

According to the data of the Central Election Commission of 17 June, a second round of voting will be necessary in eight self-governing cities of the 12 altogether. Candidates from the Georgian Dream are facing a runoff against candidates from the United National Movement in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Telavi and Batumi. Candidates from the Georgian Dream and the Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi-Patriotic Alliance of Georgia will be competing for the mayor’s offices in Ozurgeti and Poti. Along with candidates from the Georgian Dream, representatives from the Green Party and the Irakli Okruashvili-Georgian Party passed the second round of votes in Mtskheta and Gori.

Runoff elections for the gamgebeli

post are necessary for 11 municipalities out of the 59 altogether. From this number, Georgian Dream candidates will be competing against: UNM candidates in four municipalities, Nino Burjanadze–United Opposition candidates in four municipalities, Irakli Okruashvili-Georgian Party candidates, Salome Zurabishvili-Georgian Way and Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi-Patriotic Alliance of Georgia candidates in three municipalities.

According to the preliminary results of the Central Election Commission of 16 June of 18:00 as concern elf-government elections, the Georgian Dream coalition received 50.84% of proportional votes across Georgia, the UNM received 22.4% of the votes, Nino Burjanadze-United Opposition-23% and Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi-Patriotic Alliance of Georgia-4.71%.

According to data of the Georgian Dream coalition based upon the results of the Central Election Commission, the Georgian Dream majoritarian candidates won 811 seats out of the 1,049 in a majoritarian vote across Georgia which constitutes 77.31% of the total number. Further, 128 majoritarian candidates (12.20%) won seats on behalf of the Initiative Group. The UNM won 64 majoritarian districts (6.1%) across Georgia and a total of 28 majoritarian candidates (2.67%) represent the Nino Burjanadze-United Opposition in city councils.

City councils will be composed of members elected through both majoritarian and proportional systems. According to the information of the Georgian Dream, the representation of political forces in city councils across Georgia is as follows:

1.

Georgian Dream electoral block -1,391 members (67.6%)

2.

United National Movement– 281 members (13.7%)

3.

Nino Burjanadze-United Opposition– 148 members (7.2%)

4.

Patriotic Alliance of Georgia– 47 members (2.3%)

5.

Georgian Labor Party– 31 members (1.5%)

6.

Non-parliamentary opposition-Kakha Kukava, Pikria Chikhradze – 15 members (0.7%)

7.

Initiative Group– 134 members (6.5%)

8.

Others – 11 members (0.5%)

A look into the current electoral system is in order to find out how appropriate it is to measure the ratings of different political forces based upon the number of winning candidates.

Georgia has a mixed electoral system which means that elective legislative bodies (Parliament and local councils) are composed of candidates elected through majoritarian and proportional electoral systems. According to the rule, 1,049 seats in city councils out of the 2,088 across Georgia are composed of candidates elected through majoritarian vote and 1,039 through proportional vote. In the case of the Parliament, 73 MPs are elected through a majoritarian electoral system and 77 MPs are elected through a proportional electoral system.

According to the majoritarian electoral system, voters are divided into electoral districts according to geographical zones. According to the current Georgian legislation, the winner among the single-mandate candidates in the local self-government elections becomes the person who receives the highest number of votes in his/her electoral district. In this case there is no barrier except for the fact that the winning candidate should receive more support than his/her rivals.

In the proportional electoral system mandate among the political parties is distributed in proportion to their obtained support as political forces. For instance, in the local self-government elections in 2014, the Georgian Dream will be represented in the Tbilisi City Council by 74% despite the fact that the coalition received 46% through the proportional list. This abovementioned can be explained by the fact that the Georgian Dream won 24 majoritarian districts out of the 25.

Similarly, despite the fact that the United National Movement received 26.12% in Tbilisi in the proportional list, it will be represented by 14% in the City Council. The Nino Burjanadze-United Opposition received 10.35% of the proportional votes, but will be represented only by 6% in the City Council.

If we assume that the number of council members elected through the majoritarian system is the indicator of the rating of the political force, then we will see that the rating of the Georgian Dream in Tbilisi is 96% (24 council members out of the 25), 4% (one seat out of the25) for the Initiative Group ( Aleksandre Elisashvili) and 0% for the rest of the political forces.

Conclusion

According to the preliminary results of the Central Election Commission of 16 June 18:00 concerning the self-government elections in 2014, the UNM received 22.4% of the proportional votes across Georgia. At the same time, 64 UNM candidates out of the 1,049 were elected through the majoritarian vote which constitute 6.1% of the total number.

According to the Georgian electoral system, local city councils are composed of members elected through both majoritarian and proportional votes. Candidates elected through the majoritarian in councils hold 1,049 seats out of the 2,088 while 1,039 were elected through proportional vote. Accordingly, in self-government elections, the UNM will be represented by 13.7% (281 members) in  city councils across Georgia.

Irakli Gharibashvili explicitly mentions the percentage of data related to the local self-government elections. However, taking into consideration the election procedure of the single-mandate members of the city councils as well as the fact that the city councils are also composed of members elected through proportional vote and in that regard ratings of the political parties are significantly different from the outcomes shown by the majoritarian vote, this type of interpretation by the Prime Minister does not reflect the reality.

Accordingly, FactCheck concludes that the statement made by Irakli Gharibashvili, ”As for those opposition parties which have an ambition for second place, I have the United National Movement in mind, just 6.1% of their majoritarian candidates were able to succeed. This is what we are talking about. Their actual rating is 6%,” is a FALSE.

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