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Georgian Parliament Speaker Presents Amendments To Electoral Code

The speaker of the Georgian parliament, Archil Talakvadze (center), presents amendments to the constitution and the Electoral Code in Tbilisi on August 5.

TBILISI -- The speaker of the Georgian parliament, Archil Talakvadze, has presented amendments to the constitution and the Electoral Code put forward by the ruling Georgian Dream party.

Talakvadze told journalists in Tbilisi on August 5 that the parliamentary elections next year will be held on the basis of a proportional system as promised in June by the leader of the Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Changing the electoral system from a mixed system to a proportional one from 2020 was one of the demands of thousands of demonstrators who rallied for weeks in June-July.

According to the proposed amendments, 5,000 signatures will be required for a political party to get registered for the poll and the mechanism for verifying the lists of supporters will be simplified.

"As you see, our side has the political will and readiness to implement this important political reform. To carry out these changes we will need the opposition's support and a readiness to share responsibility," Talakvadze said, adding that consultations on the proposed amendments with the participation of opposition groups were continuing.

Ivanishvili announced the ruling party's readiness to reform the electoral regulations amid antigovernment protests sparked on June 20 by a Russian State Duma deputy who sat in the Georgian parliament speaker's chair while addressing lawmakers from predominantly Orthodox Christian countries.

More than 240 people were injured when police fired rubber bullets and water cannons to turn back an angry crowd that was trying to storm parliament.

Angry protesters then rallied for weeks protesting the crackdown.

Many Georgians openly voice hostility toward Russia, 11 years after a Russo-Georgian War that resulted in the occupation by Russian military forces of two breakaway Georgian regions -- Abkhazia and South Ossetia.