Georgia’s ruling party, the United National Movement, is pushing ahead with a constitutional change that will bring Georgia in line with progressive European countries.An initiative of the UNM aims at revising the Constitution of Georgia by lowering the age at which one can stand for a parliamentary seat from 25 to 21 years. The public discussion period for draft amendments has concluded, and a discussion on the results of these meetings took place in Parliament on May 7, where it was recommended that the initiative enter the standard legislative process.
According to the draft law’s explanatory note, the purpose of the initiative is to encourage engagement of younger people in the political process and support the principle of equality in law-making:
“Effectiveness of the work and high level of representation of Parliament, as a supreme law-making body is largely dependant on the composition of Parliament, and to the extent that qualified citizens of any generation and with proper preparation and education have an equal opportunity to participate in its activities.
According to Article 49 of Constitution of Georgia, a person who is 25 years old or more can be elected as a Member of Parliament. At the current stage of democracy-building and legal reforms, it is reasonable to re-examine the above-mentioned limitation in order to allow young people to have an opportunity to engage in the supervision of rapidly changing political and economic processes who, in case of public trust, will be elected in the highest law-making body and participate in the democratic development of the country.”
Opposition to this amendment has been weak, and some commentators are even suggesting that the law should allow eighteen year olds to stand for parliament as is the case in many EU countries.