By Armen Grigoryan
March 20, 2017, the CACI Analyst
March 5 marked the start of official campaigning for Armenia’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for April 2, after which a parliamentary system will replace the current presidential one. Yet these elections are unlikely to bring about any significant changes in either the economic and social spheres or in Armenia’s pro-Russian foreign policy, given the dominant position of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). The opposition running for election is fragmented and short of resources, and will compete in an election system favoring the RPA.
By Natalia Konarzewska
March 16, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The crushing defeat in Georgia's October parliamentary elections will have far-reaching consequences for the former ruling party, the United National Movement (UNM). The election results sparked a heated conflict in the UNM leadership and prompted a group of senior party members to challenge former President Mikheil Saakashvili's leadership in absentia of the party. In mid-January a group of party members opposing Saakashvili, including prominent figures, left the party. On January 20, UNM's party congress decided to leave the chairman position vacant until the former president is able to return to Georgia. Saakashvili currently resides in Ukraine, where in late 2016 he launched a new oppositional political initiative after resigning from the post of Odessa governor.
By Theresa Sabonis-Helf
March 13, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The critical but aging Georgian hydropower facility of Enguri is currently closed and under inspection, likely in urgent need of repairs. The facility serves both Georgia and Abkhazia, with portions of the facility located in each territory. Existing agreements compel Georgia to keep the lights on in Abkhazia – for free – in return for Abkhazia's (and Russia's) continued acknowledgement Georgia as the owner and operator of the facility. With Abkhaz consumption continuing to rise, Georgia is increasingly questioning how much it should be willing to do in order to maintain control of its largest power plant.
By Anar Valiyev
March 7, 2017, the CACI Analyst
On November 30, 2016, the defense ministries of Armenia and Russia signed an agreement to establish a joint Russian-Armenian Military Joint Task Force (MJTF). In June 2016, Armenia agreed to join Russia's regional air security system designed to protect Russia's southern borders and its allies. The treaty allowed Armenia to rely on Russia's anti-aircraft system and military satellites in order to defend its airspace. In late September 2016, it was revealed that Moscow had transferred the Iskander mobile short-range missile system to Armenia. These recent developments have raised serious concerns in Baku over Armenia's military buildup and its consequences for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
By Eka Janashia
September 29th, the CACI Analyst
In the beginning of September, Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) registered 23 parties and 6 electoral blocs to run in the October 8 parliamentary elections.
They will contest for 77 seats via a proportional party-list system and must clear the 5 percent threshold in the nationwide popular vote to enter the 150-member Parliament. The remaining 73 seats are allocated for single-member districts under a majoritarian system, where majoritarian MPs have to win over 50 percent of the votes in order to win outright in the first round or compete in a second round after 25 days.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.