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Georgian Lawyers Demand Changes To Electoral Laws

TBILISI -- Dozens of Georgian lawyers have protested in Tbilisi to demand changes to the electoral code, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

The protesters have set up tents in front of the parliament building and called for amendments to be made to the election law before the May 30 local elections. The lawyers said it will be impossible to conduct fair and democratic elections with the current law and they have accused the government of ignoring their demands.

The protest, organized by the Georgian Lawyer's Association, began last week. Among the 10 amendments they propose be made to the Electoral Code is raising to 50 percent the amount of votes needed by one candidate to win the mayoral seat.

Protest organizers threatened to expand their tents to the central avenue if the government does not make reforms. Lawyers added that their judicial demands will become political and could lead to calls for the dismissal of parliament.

At least 500 lawyers have signed a statement outlining the demands that was sent to the parliament speaker. The protest's organizing committee said it will continue the demonstration around-the-clock until May 30.