Ex-Vice Speaker Speaks of Parliament Downvoting Constitutional Amendments

Former ruling Georgian Dream party lawmaker Tamar Chugoshvili, who quit the parliamentary majority and the First Vice Speaker’s position after the Parliament voted down the constitutional amendments, spoke about the Parliament’s failure to adopt the bill on transition to the proportional electoral system, its consequences and forecasts in the interview with TV Pirveli on November 19.

Chugoshvili said that the Parliament lost its chance by voting down the amendments, calling the decision “harmful and wrong.” She also noted that her resignation and quitting the team had not been a hasty decision based on emotions. She also noted that downvoting the constitutional amendments will harm internal political process and promote radicalization of the pre-election processes.

This result is harmful for internal political processes, this result is harmful for the country’s reputation and image and will give way to bad processes… I have expectations for very bad [pre-election] campaign, polarized campaign from all sides; now, everyone is interested in radicalization and carrying out black [PR] campaigns.”

Chugoshvili also noted that “processes will become even harder,” after the next year’s parliamentary elections, because as soon as the elections are held, the proportional system will enter into force. Therefore, “all political parties, remaining beyond the processes, or being represented in the Parliament non-proportionally, will do their best to achieve snap elections. So, we will constantly stay in this turmoil for years to come.”

The former Vice Speaker also said that the existing mixed electoral system leaves a significant part of the population beyond political processes and puts the legitimacy of Parliament’s decisions into question.

The mixed electoral system had worked for years, but it fails to work now. When the political force has certain per cents and it is not even half of voters and it garners the great majority of parliamentary seats, 100-120 seats [out of 150] and decides the fate of the country without the participation of one half of the population in it, the legitimacy of all decisions are put into question.”

Asked whether her quitting the ruling party means that the latter will change its foreign policy course, Tamar Chugoshvili, answered:

I should have a huge ambition to say that the country’s foreign policy course depended on me or on any other colleague of mine. One of my key roles was – and actually still is very important to me – to keep the international reputation of our country, because it is very important for small countries like Georgia. Not only the country will not change its foreign policy course with my quitting or coming, but even the government’s resignation will probably not be enough to change it.”

Chugoshvili noted that she does not plan to set up a party, “because it is not simple and needs a lot of resources.” The former Vice Speaker, however, confirmed that she is mulling over setting a parliamentary faction together with other former majority lawmakers.

For more background about the developments following the parliament’s downvoting of the constitutional amendment, follow our tag on 2020 polls

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