The elections for the 4th Convocation of the Parliament of Georgia took place on 5 and 19 November 1995, simultaneously with the presidential elections. They were the first elections under the new constitution that was adopted in September 1995. The parliamentary elections were won by the Citizens Union of Georgia (CUG) of the acting head of state Eduard Shevardnadze, which received 23.7% of the proportional vote. Shevardnadze won the Presidency, after having been acting head of state since 1992.
The Citizens Union won 108 out of 235 seats in parliament, remaining short of a majority. Only two other parties managed to pass the 5% threshold while a handful of others won seats through single-mandate constituencies. More than 50 parties and election blocs participated in the elections, scattering the vote.
The elections were scheduled to take place on 5 November 1995. A second round run-off elections in single-mandate constituencies was scheduled for 19 November 1995, when none of the candidates in a constituency would have passed the one-third threshold. The elections could not take place in Abkhazia and parts of South Ossetia, as these areas were outside of Georgian control due to unresolved conflicts. Extra election days were called for 24 November and 3 December 1995 to resolve cancelled results in some precincts.
According to the Georgian law the parliament had a size of 235 deputies. These were elected through a mixed electoral system in which 150 deputies were elected through proportional representation according to party lists and 85 deputies were to be elected through single-mandate constituencies. The constituencies were determined according to the administrative districts (raioni) of Georgia, with capital Tbilisi was divided into ten constituencies, according to its local administrative subdivision.1Legislative Herald of Georgia, Law for the election of the Parliament of Georgia, No.790, (9 September 1995), article 1.2. For the proportional representation a 5% threshold was maintained. To determine whether a party reached the electoral threshold, the percentage was calculated over all cast votes, including the invalid ones.
For the single-mandate districts a 33% threshold (one-third) was applied for winning the district in the first round. A second round was to be held when none of the candidates passed the one-third vote share. The single-mandate constituencies ranged in size from 4,000 to 135,000 registered voters, causing an unequal vote weight, as the OSCE reported in 1999. This disparity was only fixed prior the 2016 election.
Eight seats of the parliament were reserved for single-mandate constituencies in Abkhazia. Since these districts could not participate in the elections, the law stipulated that the mandates of the MPs elected in 1992 from Abkhazia were automatically extended.2Legislative Herald of Georgia, 1995, article 2a. This concerned in total twelve MPs, including four who elected through party lists.3Darrell Slider, “Recent Elections in Georgia: At Long Last, Stability?” (pdf), Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 8, no. 4 (Fall 2000): p519. The four party-list mandates from Abkhazia were allocated to the proportional part of the parliament, meaning that 146 proportional seats were effectively divided by the elections.
Initially, 54 parties and electoral blocs applied to the Central Election Commission to participate in the elections,4CEC, Electoral History of Georgia 1990-2018 (pdf), (2020): p81 but after one party was removed, a total of 45 parties and eight blocs were on the ballot.5iVote, History of parliamentary elections, (2013), accessed December 2022.
The Citizens Union of acting head of state and presidential candidate Eduard Shevardnadze won the elections, obtaining 108 of 235 seats, short of a majority. The party received 23.7% of the national votes. Only tow other parties cleared the 5% threshold, the National Democratic Party (8%) and the Adjara based All-Georgian Union for Revival (6.8%) led by Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze. This meant that more than 61% of the proportional votes were not represented in Parliament. Eight parties that didn’t pass the threshold were able to win some single-mandate districts, thus creating a plural parliament.
Two seats remained vacant: in the South Ossetian single-mandate constituencies of Tskhinvali and Java the elections could not be performed. The elections were cancelled in the Rustavi constituency as less than 50% of the registered voters cast their vote. The repeat election was held in June 1996.6CEC (2020), p87
The parties that polled around 4% protested against the results because of the unusually high amount of annulled ballots. They suspected fraud to prevent them clearing the 5% threshold.7CEC (2020), p92
|Citizens Union of Georgia||504,586||23.71||90||18||108||New|
|National Democratic Party||169,218||7.95||31||3||34||+20|
|All-Georgian Union for Revival||145,626||6.84||25||6||31||New|
|United Communist Party and Social Democrats||95,506||4.77||0||0||0|
|Union of Georgian Traditionalists||89,752||4.22||0||3||3||-5|
|21st Century-Konstantin Gamsakhurdia Society-United Georgia||88,405||4.15||0||0||0|
|Socialist Party of Georgia||80,747||3.79||0||4||4||New|
|Georgian Union of Reformers–National Concord||61,424||2.89||0||2||2||New|
|Merab Kostava Society||49,829||2.34||0||0||0|
|Stalin Communist Party||46,174||2.17||0||0||0|
|Political Union Support||45,747||2.15||0||3||3||New|
|Abkhazia – My Home||44.191||2.08||0||0||0|
|Republican Party of Georgia||35,051||1.65||0||1||1||-9|
|Union for Law-Governed State8Transformed into Georgian Labour Party in 1995||19,675||0.92||0||1||1||+1|
|All-Georgian Political Organization “Lemi”||8,722||0.41||0||1||1||New|
|Other parties and blocs937 other parties and election blocs on the ballot received a total of 489,401 votes (or 23.1%)||489,401||23.12||0||0||0|
|Abkhazian deputies10Automatically extended mandate.||4||8||12|
|Vacant11Tskhinvali and Java constituencies (South Ossetia).||–||2||2|
|Total cast votes||2,116,83112The CEC has recorded a total of 2,127,946 cast votes, while 2,116,831 is arithmetically correct.||100.00|
|Registered voters and turnout||3,121,075||67.8213Based on the CEC recorded cast votes (2,127,946) the turnout would be 68.18%.|
|Sources: CEC,14CEC (2020): p89, 91 iVote,15iVote, (2013). Nohlen.16Nohlen, Dieter, Natalie Kuchinka‐Lančava, and Florian Grotz. “Georgia” Chapter in “Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook: Volume I: Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia“: p371–406. Oxford University Press, 2001.|
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly sent a limited delegation to observe the elections, visiting just over 50 polling stations in parts of South Ossetia, Kakheti and the capital Tbilisi.17OSCE PA, Georgia Parliamentary Elections 5 November 1995 – Press Release (pdf), (1995). In their final report they noted the elections “generally proceeded without violence or major mishap”, which it stated “is exceptional given the republic’s recent civil war, and on-going ethic turmoil”.18OSCE PA, Report on Parliamentary Elections in Republic of Georgia 5 November 1995 (pdf), (1 February 1996). Generally “proper procedures were observed by the delegation”. It noted an imbalance in media coverage, specifically excessive airtime for the Head of State Shevardnadze who campaigned for the presidency at the same time. Arrest and detention of some opposition members reduced opposition voices in the campaign period.
The American National Democratic Institute reported in a pre-election assessment the campaign was “peaceful, without accusations of systematic fraud or corruption”. It observed some parties took a more national (less Tbilisi-centered) approach to campaigning and shuttled their leaders throughout the country. The Citizens Union of Shevardnadze and led by Zurab Zhvania organized a series of concerts. It highlighted the law guaranteed equal media time, both in print and television. In conclusion it stated the elections were a major step forward on the road to democratization. It identified “lack of finances and poor communication pose a greater threat to the conduct of the elections than the prospect of systematic fraud”, without excluding the latter in pockets of local corruption in certain areas.19NDI, Pre-election Report – The November 1995 Presidential and on Parliamentary Elections – Republic of Georgia (pdf), (30 October 1995).
1. Participating parties and electoral blocs
2. Elected members of Parliament
References and footnotes
- 1Legislative Herald of Georgia, Law for the election of the Parliament of Georgia, No.790, (9 September 1995), article 1.2.
- 2Legislative Herald of Georgia, 1995, article 2a.
- 3Darrell Slider, “Recent Elections in Georgia: At Long Last, Stability?” (pdf), Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 8, no. 4 (Fall 2000): p519.
- 4CEC, Electoral History of Georgia 1990-2018 (pdf), (2020): p81
- 5iVote, History of parliamentary elections, (2013), accessed December 2022.
- 6CEC (2020), p87
- 7CEC (2020), p92
- 8Transformed into Georgian Labour Party in 1995
- 937 other parties and election blocs on the ballot received a total of 489,401 votes (or 23.1%)
- 10Automatically extended mandate.
- 11Tskhinvali and Java constituencies (South Ossetia).
- 12The CEC has recorded a total of 2,127,946 cast votes, while 2,116,831 is arithmetically correct.
- 13Based on the CEC recorded cast votes (2,127,946) the turnout would be 68.18%.
- 14CEC (2020): p89, 91
- 15iVote, (2013).
- 16Nohlen, Dieter, Natalie Kuchinka‐Lančava, and Florian Grotz. “Georgia” Chapter in “Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook: Volume I: Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia“: p371–406. Oxford University Press, 2001.
- 17OSCE PA, Georgia Parliamentary Elections 5 November 1995 – Press Release (pdf), (1995).
- 18OSCE PA, Report on Parliamentary Elections in Republic of Georgia 5 November 1995 (pdf), (1 February 1996).