Court Defends 1-in-3 Women Quota for Local Councils, Quashes Same for Men
The Constitutional Court of Georgia dismissed on October 21 a lawsuit contesting one-in-three gender quotas in the proportional party lists for municipal council elections.
Appellant, the European Georgia party, claimed the quotas “substantially and unjustifiably restricted the freedom of political parties” by preventing the democratic organization of electoral lists and predetermining its gender-based configuration.
Citing a similar judgment from 2020, which ruled the 1-in-4 women quotas on the parliamentary proportional lists constitutional, the nine-member plenum of the Court said the differences between the two claims did not create enough basis to review the new appeal on the merits.
The Court additionally said the rule allowing the replacement of female mandate-holders in the local councils only by other women in case of premature quitting was justified, as it guarantees “effective functioning of the mandatory quota system.”
However, again referring to its earlier practice, the plenum ruled similar quota benefits for male candidates in current laws unconstitutional, without a further examination on the merits.
Namely, the Court invalidated existing laws that obliged at least one in three candidates in electoral lists to be male and allowed replacing an outgoing male local council member only with another man.
Four judges in the plenum – Giorgi Kverenchkhiladze, Eva Gotsiridze, Irine Imerlishvili, and Teimuraz Tugushi – dissented.
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