The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) appealed to the Constitutional Court on behalf of Vakhushti Menabde, Vasil Zhizhiashvili, Gvantsa Sakanelashvili, and Nona Kurdovanidze.
GYLA demands that the borders of the single-mandate electoral districts established for the local self-government elections be declared unconstitutional.
According to the challenged norms, the electorate’s voice in small districts with few voters has a higher weight compared to the voters registered in districts with numerous voters.
“For example, a voter from both Mtatsminda and Saburtalo elects one MP in the Tbilisi Sakrebulo. The number of registered voters in Saburtalo is 134582 and in Mtatsminda – 53884. As the number of voters living in Saburtalo is 2,5 times higher than the number of registered voters in Mtatsminda, the weight of the registered voter in the Saburtalo district is 2,5 times less than the weight of the number of registered voters in Mtatsminda.
The Constitutional Court of Georgia, by its Judgment N1/3/547 of May 28, 2015 , considered unconstitutional the norms of the Electoral Code, which defined the boundaries of Electoral Districts for parliamentary elections in a way that violated the principle of an equal weight of voters.
According to the established practice of the Georgian Constitutional Court, “the primary purpose and basis of the exercise of the right to vote are to reflect the citizens’ will in the final results of the elections.”
Consequently, a crucial component of this right is the ability of voters to influence the outcome of elections. Following the disputed norms, the loss of the “weight” and impact of the electorate vote deprives the voter of the opportunity to exercise his/her active suffrage effectively.
In contrast, the chances of those voters whose vote “weight” has increased enjoy an increased impact on the election results. Such an electoral system deprives citizens of equal opportunities. It fails to ensure that elections are held per the Constitution and that the electorate’s will is reflected adequately in the final results of the elections, which is contrary to the principle of democratic governance.
The Judgment of the Constitutional Court concerned equal suffrage in parliamentary elections. However, international experience confirms that the same approach is relevant for local self-government elections,” GYLA statement reads.
In the submitted claim, GYLA argues that the boundaries of the majoritarian electoral districts established for local self-government elections violate the principle of equal voting weight, which is why the challenged norms should be declared unconstitutional concerning suffrage and equality rights.