Reforming Electoral Systems in Georgia

4 March 2013

UNDP Georgia, within the project “Promoting Credible and Sustainable Electoral Institutions and Processes” with the financial support of EU and in coordination with the Parliament of Georgia, organized the workshop on the Electoral Systems for the members of the parliament and leaders of the NGOs who are considered to work on the future electoral reform.The objective of the workshop was to equip the stakeholders with the necessary knowledge to make the analyzed decisions, also to give the leading NGOs better knowledge for the electoral reform recommendations and campaigning.

The three-day workshop on Electoral systems was conducted during 19-21 January, 2013 in GPH Hotel, Kobuleti, Georgia. The workshop was facilitated by Natia Kashakashvili (lead facilitator), Tamar Zhvania and Giorgi Sharabidze. Participants have received the participants’ package: BRIDGE participants’ handbook in Georgian and the IIDEA Handbook on Electoral Systems in English. Due to the materials being outdated, the facilitation team has done lots of research in order to give the participants the latest information on usage of the electoral systems throughout the world. In total 18 participants attended the workshop, out of which seven were representatives of the NGOs, two representatives from the Central Election Commission and one from the UNDP Electoral Project.

In total seven were female and eleven male participants. All the main Electoral Systems were simulated in order to understand its elements and advantages and disadvantages. Several case studies were brought in to better understand the essence of the electoral system. Participants then were tasked to understand the principles of each electoral system by doing comparative analysis and judging about advantages and disadvantages of each system. Therefore, participants were tasked to advice the design of electoral system for the given scenario. Participants realized that there is no ideal electoral system; that countries chose themselves the system and try to adjust to it by several means.

Participants praised BRIDGE methodology and simulations; it was mentioned that it was the easiest way to understand the nature of electoral systems. Even though participants considered the warm-up activities (Electoral Cycle, Principles of free and fair elections) unnecessary, at the end of the workshop they have realized the importance of those activities as well as energizers. There was significant interest to further learn more about many related topics, particularly use of technologies, Election management bodies in relations to the Electoral System chosen, boundary delimitation, etc. Based on the feedback from the participants, the workshop was evaluated as the timeliest workshop and close to the point for the electoral reform. It was recommended by the whole group, to further hold the BRIDGE thematic workshops on the EMB Design, Voter Registration and any other topic for the electoral reform.

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