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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EU Mediation in Georgia’s Political Crisis: What did We (not) Understand?

Nino Samkharadze  [1]

For five months, Georgia has faced a severe political crisis that has been worrying enough for its European partners to express unprecedented interest in the country’s ongoing political processes. Indeed, the EU has been actively involved  in attempting to solve the crisis: the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, was in charge of mediating an inter-party dialogue, and even mandated a personal envoy, Christian Danielsson, to engage in the mediation process. However, even the very high-level involvement of the EU proved unsuccessful: the Georgian political elite did not manage to reach an agreement, and the EU mediation in Georgia is considered to have failed at this stage. (more…)

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Inter-party Negotiations in a Time of Crisis: What Hinders an Effective Dialogue?

Nino Samkharadze [1]

Georgia has faced an unfolding political crisis over the last few months. Despite the active participation of trustworthy international actors, including the President of the European Council in the post-election political dialogue, there are still no signs of consensus and negotiations remain quite tense.

Considering the government’s plan to further Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and apply for EU membership in 2024, a constructive inter-party dialogue, and an fair solution to the political crisis in the country is essential. As always, the uncompromising tactics and positions of existing political parties hinder an effective agreement. (more…)

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The Georgian Far-right through the Lens of Freedom of Expression

Nino Kvirikashvili[1]

[The blog is published 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]. 

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Serbia’s Snap Parliamentary Elections: A Case for Georgia?

Salome Kandelaki[1]

[This publication was produced with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Endowment for Democracy]. 

Serbia is among the countries, that held elections during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020 and as in case of Georgia, most of the Serbian opposition parties called the elections illegitimate. According to the official report of Republic Election Commission of Serbia, the coalition under the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) won the elections by 60.65% (188 seats out of 250). The five-month-long opposition protest that started on the day of the elections, ended with the President Alexander Vucic announcing snap elections in 2022 to be held along with the Presidential elections. To what extent can Georgia use the example of Serbia to defuse the crisis and normalize the situation? (more…)

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