Electoral Systems workshop for electoral reform in Georgia

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UNDP Georgia, within the project “Promoting Credible and Sustainable Electoral Institutions and Processes” with the financial support of EU and in coordination with the Parliament of Georgia, organized the workshop on the Electoral Systems for the members of the inter-parliament group (parliamentary and non-parliamentary political parties) who are working on electoral system reform. The objective of the workshop is to equip the stakeholders with the necessary knowledge to make the analyzed decisions.

The four-day workshop was facilitated by Giorgi Sharabidze and Natia Kashakashvili during 23-26 August, 2013 at Lopota Lake resort, Telavi, Georgia.

In total 18 political party representatives, one CEC representative, one Parliamentary working group secretariat representative and one representative of special group on Electoral Reform participated in the workshop. In total four were female and 17 male participants.

Participants were briefly introduced to the principle of representation and impact of the district magnitude as well as boundary delimitation on the results of elections. All the Electoral Systems were simulated and followed by the case studies emphasizing the elements and characteristic of the system in practice. Each electoral system was “screened” in terms of ensuring representation. Separate session was delivered on special measures of gender representation and quota options. Participants then were asked to design the special measure to ensure gender representation for the specific scenario for different electoral systems.  Ballot Paper design principles as well as principles of counting the ballot paper were introduced as part of the Electoral System design. On the last day, participants were asked to count the ballot papers voted (circled) in advance for AV, Open PR List, STV and MMP in order for electoral reformers to better understand the whole process, whether ballot paper counting happens at polling
station level and/or upper (counting center or district) level.

Participants were extremely satisfied with the outcome of the workshop, noting that the expectations were met and that representatives of different political parties can continue discussing this topic within their organizations and make more informative decisions while working along with the Parliamentary Working Group.  Participants noted that BRIDGE is the sole methodology that is so effective in delivering complex topic such as Electoral Systems in a very simple and understanding way.

Participants noted the need for the following thematic workshops: Boundary Delimitation, Electoral Technologies (namely in Voter Registration, Voter Identification, Polling, Counting and Results Management) and further workshop on Electoral Systems.

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