With the publication of the voters’ list ahead of the 1 October parliamentary election the glaring difference in the size of constituencies, and the impact that it may have on the result of the elections has become only too obvious. Despite the fact that this issue has been highlighted many times by the international community, particularly the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE no remedial action has been taken.
According to the data that has been released by the Central Elections Commission of Georgia there are 3,621,256 voters. Whilst all voters have one vote the importance of this vote varies depending on the constituency. Whilst 77 MPs are elected on a proportional party list, the other 73 are elected through single member constituencies. The size of these constituencies varies enormously with some having only a few thousand voters and others exceeding 150,000 voters.
This problem is not unique to Georgia but whereas in most countries boundary commissions constantly revise boundaries to keep the difference between the largest and the smallest constituencies within a predefined range in Georgia the situation has not been corrected. The process is not painless in many countries, as many communities insist to keeping their local MP even if they had become too small to do so. Exceptions are usually made for islands, or remote mountain communities. In urban areas however such big discrepancies are considered intolerable.
Whilst it is too late to resolve this problem in Georgia ahead of the coming elections it is already possible to see that this may become a serious issue in case of a close result.
Number of Voters According to Election Districts, for the Parliamentary Elections 2012
(Table reproduced from the website of the Central Elections Commission of Georgia)
District Number of Voters
1. Among them, 77232 voters, removed from the registry on the basis of a statement of an individual or dwelling owner.
2. A mong them, 111763 voters, removed from the address registry, revealed as a result of a door-to-door campaign, implemented by the Commission for Ensuring the Accuracy of Voters’ List