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Georgia: New Election Legislation

(Dec. 2, 2007) On November 20, 2007, as a part of the compromise between the opposition parties, the Parliament adopted amendments to Georgia's election laws, which will apply during the 2008 parliamentary elections. The amendments decrease the election threshold for the parties from the present seven percent to five, affect the composition of the election commissions, and establish new rules for the election of legislators. According to the new rules, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission and six commissioners will be appointed by the ruling party. The remaining six seats will be filled by the representatives of six opposition parties that during the last elections have cleared the four percent threshold, which made them eligible for state funding. The Central Election Commission will create lower-level election commissions, which together with the activists of the ruling party and leading local political parties will appoint precinct staff. In regard to the election of Members of Parliament, the country will be divided into 19 electoral districts, in which each party registered to participate in elections will nominate a list of candidates running from the constituency. The party that receives the most votes in the district will have the right to send the candidates on its ballot to the Parliament. ( Parliament Outlines Major Election Rules, UNA-GEORGIA ONLINE MAGAZINE.)