The post-Merkel Germany and the Eastern Partnership: 5 Take-aways from Germany’s parliamentary elections

Bidzina Lebanidze[1]

[This publication was produced with the financial support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. The views, opinions and statements expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foundation. Therefore, the Open Society Georgia Foundation is not responsible for the content of the information material].

On September 26, 2021, national elections took place in Germany. The election results were close, with the German Social Democrats (SPD) emerging with a slight lead (25.8%) over Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) (24.1%). The Greens (14.6%) finished on third place, followed by the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) (11.5%) and the far right AFD (10.6%) (Figure 1). (more…)

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Op-ed: From poster child to problem child: Georgia’s democratic crisis threatens its European future

Kornely Kakachia & Bidzina Lebanidze

The recent decision of the Georgian government to refuse the second tranche of the EU’s Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) marks a new low in EU-Georgia relations amid Georgia’s declining democracy.

It was preceded by another disappointing decision of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party to withdraw from the EU-mediated agreement between the government and the opposition signed in April amid government fears of having to hold snap parliamentary elections if the GD did not receive 43% of the vote in the upcoming municipal elections slated for October 2, stipulated by the same agreement. (more…)

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What Threats Does the Rejection of the EU Financial Assistance Contain for Georgia?

Photo: European Union

Nino Samkharadze[1]

[This publication was produced with the financial support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. The views, opinions and statements expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foundation. Therefore, the Open Society Georgia Foundation is not responsible for the content of the information material].

After meeting with Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, the President of the European Council Charles Michel gave a reminder of the conditionality of the EU financial assistance on his own Twitter account.  A few days later the leaders of Georgian Dream stated that a decision had been made that Georgia might reject Brussel’s macro-financial assistance. (more…)

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A Look Beyond the Red Lines in Georgian Politics: 5 Major Risks Following the Annulment of the April 19 Agreement

Nino Samkharadze[1]

On July 28, the ruling Georgian Dream party withdrew from the April 19 Agreement, a deal which had been brokered through a long mediation process with the direct involvement of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. The annulment of the agreement further destabilized the existing turbulent and deeply polarized political environment in the country.  Although the EU mediation should have been a privilege for Georgia in terms of internal development, as well as (more…)

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Changes in the Election Administration and its Potential Impact on the Upcoming Local Self-Government Elections in Georgia

Teona Zurabashvili[1]

[This publication was produced with the support of the Netherlands Fund for Regional Partnerships MATRA for regional cooperation in the Eastern Partnership (EaP)].

On June 28, 2021, the Parliament of Georgia approved amendments to the Election Code. The latest Election Code of Georgia envisages changes in the number of the Central Election Commission (CEC) members, the composition of and the procedure for their election, the appointment of CEC members by parties and the termination of their term of office as well as a new rule for electing the CEC chairperson. Changes to the electoral legislation were based on the (more…)

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Spoiler or Ambivalent Partner: the GOC and the Fate of Georgia’s European Future

Bidzina Lebanidze[1] Shota Kakabadze[2]

The Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) has long served as both a social glue in Georgia and a significant marker of the contemporary Georgian national identity. However, over the last few years, the GOC has been drifting away from its historical position of moral superiority and political neutrality towards something more radical. This was confirmed by the involvement of some clergy members in recent violent anti-LGBTQI protests and the adoption of anti-liberal and anti-Western (more…)

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State vs. Social Protests: Why Is the Protest Against Namakhvani HPP Unique?

Salome Kandelaki[1]

A group calling themselves the “Rioni Gorge guards” have been protesting against the construction of the Namakhvani Hydro Power Plant (HPP) for more than six months. The state did not communicate with the locals until the first large-scale demonstration was held in Kutaisi, which ended in vain, and the protestors’ questions remained unanswered from the authorities. In fact, the government resorted to violence to end the unrest, and dismantled the protest tents in response to (more…)

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Power of the Powerless? The Role of Small Parties in Georgian Politics

Nino Samkharadze[1]

There is a prevalent view in Georgia that the two major parties – the Georgian Dream and the United National Movement – dictate the political forecast in the country. Regardless, the decision of the small parties to sign Michel’s document and enter parliament showed that during the evaluation of the Georgian political agenda, the factor of small parties in Georgian political processes might be crucial from an electoral standpoint. The biggest and most experienced oppositional party, the United National Movement, is not among the parliamentary actors in the 10th convocation parliament. (more…)

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What Does the Data Say: Partisan Divide and Skepticism towards Vaccines in Georgia?

Shota Kakabadze[1]

Just a couple of days ago, the Minister of Health of Georgia remarked that the anti-vaxxer campaign had been defeated and that there was a considerable increase in the demand for vaccines. The latter might be indeed the case, if one takes into consideration how fast most of the available spots  for the Chinese-produced vaccine were booked once this became available for everyone above 18 years old. (more…)

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Jean Monnet European Dialogue – Next Step towards Consensus-Oriented Politics

Nino Samkharadze[1]

Although the first stage of the EU’s mediation during the ongoing Georgian political crisis initially failed, Georgian political parties continue to discuss the terms of the agreement within the EU’s mediation framework.[2] During different stages of the discussion process, the agreement has now been signed by the governing Georgian Dream party and Girchi, a libertarian movement. In this respect, it can be said that the consensus-achieving process has been relaunched, and evaluation of the specific components of the deal is once again the subject of active discussion. (more…)

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