Integration of Ethnic Minorities in Georgia: Barriers to Political Participation

Salome Kandelaki

The political integration of ethnic minorities is a complex process, and as Georgia remains a transitional democracy it still has a long way to go. Quality political participation of Azerbaijani and Armenian minorities at the national level remains a challenge. In Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions ethnic minorities have negligible impact on political decisions. Particularly, older generations of ethnic minorities, the majority of whom do not speak Georgian, are not informed about Georgia’s domestic or foreign policy priorities, and are subject to the unequal treatment. To counteract this, the Government of Georgia should work in a more coordinated manner with the EU delegation and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure that policies which are designed to strengthen politically disenfranchised groups, do in fact respond to their needs.

The arguments in this policy paper are based on existing literature and official documents, as well as expert interviews and focus group discussions held in Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions. The work covers recommendations formulated in response to the challenges described in the research for the Government of Georgia, political parties, the EU delegation and NGOs.

 

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