Ombudsman Offers Introducing the Quota System to the Parliament

On July 17, 2015, the Public Defender of Georgia offered the introduction of the special temporary measure – the quota mechanism to the Legal Committee of the Parliament of Georgia. The suggested document provides the ideas and the legislative initiative, which envisage the changes to the Organic Law of Georgia on "Political Unions" and to the "Election Code of Georgia".

The Ombudsman welcomed the initiation of discussion on special temporary measures, however, he believes that the proposed draft law does not ensure the elimination of unequal conditions and will not serve sufficient to reach the aim of achieving gender-balance. At least every third candidate of different sexes in the top five candidates of the Parliamentary election candidate list and at least every third person of different sexes in the top twenty candidates of municipal elections will not result in the desired balance, the more that the initiative will only have the impact on the number of candidates to be elected through the proportional rule.

The Public Defender of Georgia approves the initiative of the working group - "Political Participation of Women in Georgia" and believes that 50/50 balance among the candidates, where every second candidate will be of different sex will bring the tangible outcome.

Herewith, the Ombudsman believes that the existing system does not have a positive effect, the evidence of which is the information on the gender statistics of the local government elections, published in 2014 by the Election Administration. The Public Defender again shares the viewpoint of the working group - "Political Participation of Women in Georgia" and believes that the preferential system shall be revoked and in the event of failure to keep 50/50 balance, the error in the candidate list shall be identified; in case the error is not rectified, the registration shall be refused.

According to the opinion of the Public Defender, 50%-quota system does not represent the optimal solution to the inequality problem and does not provide an opportunity to both sexes to equally participate in the decision-making process. The best practice of a number of developed states with high democratic values showed the validity of quota system in reaching the gender-balance. The experience of the Scandinavian states is exemplary in this regard; despite the fact that the quota system is no longer valid there, these states still remain leaders in terms of the women's political participation.

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