Even though the country is a regional frontrunner, Georgian democracy is not yet consolidated. Parliamentary elections in 2016 saw the governing Georgian Dream returned with a constitutional majority. The October 2017 local elections brought the ruling party another sweeping victory. Despite Georgian Dream's overwhelming electoral successes, the country faces voter apathy. Alongside lack of parliamentary controls and a fragmentation of the party-political spectrum this does not bode well for consolidating democracy in the near future. (Autorenreferat)
Over the summer month of August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia in an attempt of reconquering the territory. Four years later, on October 1, 2012, Georgia is holding its first Parliamentary Elections after the conflict that caused so much harm. The Parliamentary Elections constitute the 7th legislative elections held since Georgia's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is however the first time for Georgia to elect an alternative party from the ruling party solely based on principle of democratic vote. The article examines the almost ten years of President Saakashvili's Administration. During this decade, Saakashvili's United National Movement government realized many positive works. Works like the successful reform of police forces and the determined force-back of corruption. These liberating works were all eagerly welcomed by Europe and other western nations. However, in the apparent loss of sense of reality towards the end of its reign, Georgia's United National Movement government turned to dictating and ordering as a main style of governing. This in turn pushed citizens away from Saakashvili's politics into voting for the opposition. Unforeseen by even the most experienced Southern Caucasus and Georgia experts, Georgia's 2012 Parliamentary Elections gave way to the opposition coalition Georgian Dream to sweep to victory, leaving President Saakashvili to ceded defeat. Despite President Saakashvili's statement that he would go into opposition there has not been a complete paradigm shift in Georgia's domestic politics. With the Georgian Dream's failure to gain a constitutional majority and questions over the ideological compatibility of the coalition – along with the fact that United National Movement still has the greatest representation in Parliament relative to the other parties, Saakashvili and his supporters keep hold to substantial political leverage. Also, Saakashvili will remain President until the October 2013 election. His opponent, Prime Minister Ivanishvili is expected to manifest himself, bringing in a less contentious, more pragmatic approach to relations with the country's giant neighbour to the north. Overall, it can be said that Georgia's unrivalled ballot-box transfer of power elevated the country to a category fundamentally higher in terms of democratic development than virtually all other post-Soviet states. This has been the more remarkable even since Georgia had been widely cited as an example case of a failed state, with a destroyed infrastructure and economy, dysfunctional state institutions and something approaching anarchy as its governance model. The impact of the ongoing reform of Georgia's constitution and electoral law has lead to major shifts in Georgia's political landscape. However, opinions vary as to whether the farsighted amendments made to the Georgian constitution on the initiative of the United National Movement are a genuine attempt to improve the country's system of governance or that they rather are an effort by the incumbent president to cling on to power. The adoption of the amendments and the timing of their entry into force strongly suggest that the latter might be the case. Meanwhile, as a result of the changes to the Georgian constitution, a system of dual power has come in place. These and other factors suggest that Georgia's political landscape is set to become more predictable. The article examines the degree to which this can be held true. In the streets of Tbilisi, hundred days into the reign of the new government, there is an air of optimism amongst the people. This holds especially true when it comes to youth. The hope is that the Georgian Dream becomes a Georgian reality. The disappointment otherwise might be shattering. In spring 2013, the new leadership offers new opportunities for Georgia. It can improve its democratic system and economic growth and establish a dialogue with Russia and the breakaway districts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This would alleviate the frozen conflict and tense security dilemma' on the Administrative Boundary Lines. Yet, if the transition of power does not go well, there will be prolonged power struggles that could cripple the policy making and cast Georgia back to pre-Saakashvili times. The article addresses the overall question whether the smooth transfer of power Georgia achieved after October's election sets a standard for democracy in the region depending on whether the new government can strengthen the independence and accountability of state institutions in what remains a fragile, even potentially explosive political climate. The victory of the Georgian Dream Coalition over the United National Movement has brought pluralism into Georgian policymaking. However this political pluralism also includes that awkward dual powers; Georgia's good cop and bad cop.
The balance between civil and military structures is central to understanding the development of Georgian statehood since the beginning of the 20th century. The first modern independent Georgian state was established after the 1917 Russian Revolution. The Democratic Republic of Georgia declared its independence in May 1918. In February 1921, the young republic was incorporated into the Soviet state and had no separate army of its own. Since regaining its independence in 1991, Georgia has experienced multiple administrations, and despite significantly different policies on the military, the overall pattern has been one of civilian (though not always democratic) control. Georgian militias and paramilitaries, between 1918 and 1921 and again between 1991 and 1995, played important roles in determining political power at times of revolutionary or constitutional crises. Since 1991 there have been three presidents - Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Eduard Shevardnadze, and Mikheil Saakashvili - with strong executive authority. In 2013, the position of president was made semi-ceremonial and a prime-ministerial system was instituted. Since 2013, there have been multiple prime ministers. Bidzina Ivanishvili was the first and the most powerful. All of Georgia's leaders have shifted from a Soviet to pro-Western orientation. Since the second half of the 1990s, the relationship with NATO has grown closer, which has had a major impact on the structure of the Georgian armed forces and on their relationship with Georgia's civil authorities. The 2008 war with Russia had a major impact on the Georgian military, and, since then, the level of professionalization of the Georgian armed forces has increased dramatically. Samuel Huntington, Eric Nordlinger, and other Western students of civil-military relations have pointed to the important balance required between civil and military authorities for a stable democracy. Georgia still displays continuing features of nepotism, clientelism, corruption, and dominant political personalities, which has significant consequences for the independence of the Georgian military and for civil-military relations more generally. Western states such as the United States and Germany, and international organizations like NATO continue to urge reform and provide training to the Georgian armed forces
Georgia initialed in November 2013, the summit of the eastern partnership in Vilnius an Association Agreement with the EU. It underlined that the South Caucasus republic remains strongly oriented to the west after Saakashvili. At the same time, the Alliance seeks Georgian Dream, since 2012 in power, a restructuring of relations with Russia. This could have an impact on the EU. Adapted from the source document.
AbstractFrom the early 1990s through the 2008 "Russo-Georgian war," waves of armed conflicts in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali regions of Georgia forced thousands of residents, mainly ethnic Georgians, to leave their homes. More than two decades of protracted internal displacement, marked by tough economic and social problems, led this vulnerable community to a common trap in reckoning with the past: an overwhelming sense of the fundamental ruptures between the idealized past and current, miserable reality. Failures of the displacement policy and "side effects" of numerous humanitarian aid projects hinder internally displaced persons' social integration and leave them on the margins of Georgian society with almost a singular option: to constantly recall meaningful life in the lost homeland, which they remember as free of ethnic phobias and economic problems. In this article, we suggest that for persons who are internally displaced, memories are defined not only by their past lived experiences and present hardships, but also by the official historical narratives that argue that Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian "endemic" unity and cohabitation was destroyed by Russian imperial politics. Living in constant pain also narrows the future expectations of the internally displaced persons. However, it is the past and the memories that are supposed to be useful in achieving the utopian dream of a return.
The presidential elections in Georgia on October 27 will be a watershed in one important sense: Georgia will cease to be a presidential republic and become a parliamentary one, with new responsibilities vested in the prime minister's office. The new constitutional arrangement will curb the power of the president. Pre-election comment abroad has focused on the contradictory figure of the current prime minister -- and Georgia's richest man -- Bidzina Ivanishvili. He burst on to the political scene in 2011, forming the Georgian Dream coalition that defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement in parliamentary elections last October. Ivanishvili, however, is not running for president and has promised to resign as prime minister by the end of the year. The rationale for this decision is perhaps that it is one of the few steps that can cure Georgia of its 'Messiah complex', the excessive speculations placed in one strong leader. Adapted from the source document.
After the parliamentary elections in Georgia in October 1, 2012, when the oppositional coalition named “Georgian Dream ” led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, current prime minister of Georgia came to power with the significant majority, the whole world started to talk about the “Litmus Test ” that Georgia passed with success in building its democracy. It was the first time in the history of independent Georgia when acting government was replaced with the opposition without revolutions and war. President Mikheil Saakashvili and his United National Movement party became an opposition and commenced to act in “cohabitation ” with the acting government. Prime Minister Ivanishvili and his political team express their willingness to maintain the Euro-Atlantic course but at the same time underline the importance of regulating tensed relations and reestablish diplomatic ties with Russia. President Saakashvili and his followers blame existing government of being Russian-oriented and express their fairs that Ivanishvili’s government is leading the country back to the “dark and cold 1990s ” and back to the Russian rule. 1) Is Georgia really maintaining its western oriented course? 2) Will Georgia-US relations remain as ideal as they were during Saakashvili’s presidency?
On 1 October, 2012, the Georgian people made an important historical choice in favor of the Georgian Dream political opposition coalition headed by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. This event will undoubtedly go down in the country's annals as the first time the opposition was brought to power not by revolution, but by election. And despite a certain opinion prevailing in society that a revolution might be possible, political tradition in post-Soviet Georgia took an extremely unexpected turn. The thing is that elections of any scope in Georgia have long failed to be a mechanism for bringing about a democratic change in power, acting instead as a pretext for carrying out coups or revolutions. Since the Soviet Union collapsed and Georgia acquired its independence, essentially no power change in the country has occurred by means of an election. An exception was the first multiparty parliamentary election held on 28 October, 1990; at that time, the ruling Communist party conceded its position to a national political force in the form of the Round Table-Free Georgia opposition bloc headed by Zviad Gamsakhurdia. It is also worth noting that victory over the communists was sustained while the Constitution of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and other Soviet laws were still in effect. Another salient point is that despite the impressive victory of the opposition bloc and the antagonism existing between the national government (which struggled for Georgia's secession from the Soviet Union) and the communists, the latter also acquired deputy mandates; they were even able to create an opposition faction. Fourteen political parties participated in the election of 28 October, 1990, held according to the mixed system. Two hundred and fifty members of parliament (125 under the proportional and 125 under the majority system) were elected for a five-year term. Furthermore, only two political parties-Round Table-Free Georgia (81 deputies plus 43 majority deputies) and the Communist Party of Georgia (44 deputies plus 17 majority deputies)-were able to overcome the 4% election barrier. However, at that time six parties were represented in the Supreme Soviet of Georgia, four of which managed to acquire deputy mandates under the majority system. After Zviad Gamsakhurdia's government was overthrown, all the subsequent elections ended with the victory of the ruling party: first, of the Union of Citizens of Georgia party headed by Eduard Shevardnadze, and after 2003 the United National Movement party headed by Mikheil Saakashvili. This party came to power in November 2003 with the help of the Rose Revolution, after which it was able to win another two parliamentary elections. On 1 October, 2012, the era of the United National Movement party came to an end.