Between Rhetoric and Action: Right-wing Populism in Georgia’s Parliamentary Life

Nino Samkharadze

Throughout the world, populism is on the rise in both governments and various political institutions. There are approximately five times the amount of populist forces leading political institutions today than there were in post-World War II Europe (Kyle & Meyer 2020). At the same time, the only parliamentary actor considered populist in Georgia is the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG) (Silagadze 2020). Formed in 2012, APG was able to come in third place, thus getting six seats in the parliament, in their first parliamentary elections. This has to a certain extent, facilitated the representation of right-wing populist narratives in Georgia’s parliament. On one hand, this poses the threat of strengthening the legitimacy and increasing the presence of anti-liberal and Eurosceptic issues on Georgia’s institutional policy agenda.   On the other hand, however, the more confrontational and uncompromising populism is in its essence, the less effective populist actors are in the parliamentary setting (Fournier 2018).

The following policy memorandum analyzes Georgian right-wing populism as a parliamentary opposition force. APG opposition activity in the parliamentary arena is discussed in two main ways: how efficiently and actively right-wing populist actors use parliamentary tools to pursue their own interests and to what extent their parliamentary activities reflect the content of their narratives. In order to answer these questions, the paper reviews the legislative initiatives instigated by the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia. Additionally, this work draws attention to analyzing how such parliamentary actors acted in relation to other legislations and documents. In the end, public statements from the parliamentary rostrum are reviewed in order to determine the type of content aired by the right-wing populist actors in the previous parliament and how closely their political narratives are related to populism.

 

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