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Georgian Dream to repeal parliament gender quotas 

1 April 2024
Parliament bureau session. 25 March 2024. Image: Parliament.ge

Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party has announced they will support an initiative to drop gender quotas for party election lists.

The party announced their plans to support a proposal from Girchi — New Political Centre to amend the electoral code on Monday.

The gender quotas were introduced by the ruling party in 2020, receiving cross-party support in parliament. The current rules mean that every fourth person on a party’s electoral list must be of the opposite gender to the previous three.

[Read on OC Media: Georgia’s political parties ranked by number of women candidates]

Girchi, a libertarian party, has since protested the quota, with now-chair Iago Khvichia attributing women’s lack of participation in Georgian politics to their lack of ‘courage’.

Girchi also suggested dropping all mentions of gender from all of Georgia’s legislation against the backdrop of Georgian Dream’s recent proposal to amend the constitution to ban queer ‘propaganda’ and gender transitioning. 

The opposition Lelo and Strategy Aghmashenebeli parties have said they will oppose the move. 


Georgian Dream and Girchi stated that they had reached a consensus on the issue. The parties described the agreement as a result of political bargaining: in return, Girchi vowed to support Georgian Dream’s contentious changes in electoral legislation that were recently vetoed by President Salome Zurabishvili. Girchi’s draft law is expected to be discussed by parliament in an expedited manner this week. 

In their draft bill, Girchi described gender quotas as a way to ‘help women interested in politics to avoid reputational damage incurred upon them by quotas’. 

Several liberal groups in Georgia have criticised the quotas as ‘offensive’ to women. Girchi and watchdog group the Liberty Institute unsuccessfully challenged the quotas in the Constitutional Court. 

Georgian Dream MP and Vice-Speaker Archil Talakvadze justified their compromise with Girchi by stating that the measure was temporary anyway, and that the mechanism was ‘not that important anymore to block this initiative from the opposition’. 

Talakvadze noted that a cross-party consensus on confirming the head of the Central Election Commission was a higher priority for them. 

Talakvadze insisted that Georgian Dream had gone to great lengths to encourage women to engage in politics, including creating a ‘strong’ women’s conference of the party. He also underlined that parties would not be prevented from placing women in their electoral lists voluntarily, as he claimed his own party intended to. 

Khatia Dekanoidze, an MP from the Euro-optimists parliamentary group, described the deal as Georgian Dream’s attempt to free up spots in their list for wealthier men that she claimed previously held seats as majoritarian MPs.

Of the 30 majoritarian candidates Georgian Dream selected for the 2020 parliamentary elections, only one was a woman. The party justified this at the time by pointing out that the mandatory gender quotas did not apply to the majoritarian system, only proportional party lists. The 2024 parliamentary elections are due to be held with a fully proportional system.

[For an in-depth insight into the issue, read on the Caucasus Dagatablog: Does Georgia’s public want gender-balanced politics?]

Read in Armenian on CivilNet.
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