By Natalia Konarzewska
September 16, 2019, the CACI Analyst
One year ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections, Georgia is experiencing a serious political crisis that has exposed deep flaws in the rule of Georgian Dream (GD) and its illusive reconciliation with Russia. The visit of a Russian lawmaker to Georgia’s Parliament in June sparked outrage across the country and fueled widespread disappointment with the ruling party’s policies. The parliamentary scandal delivered a serious blow to the government’s approval ratings and its hallmark policy of rapprochement with Russia. This is a worrying trend for the ruling party, which is seeking a third consecutive term but increasingly compromises democratic principles in order to stay in power.
By Svante E. Cornell
July 30, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Azerbaijan and Georgia have enjoyed almost three decades of a strategic partnership that has shaped the geopolitical landscape of the whole greater Eurasia. Yet Azerbaijani-Georgian relations `have recently witnessed an unparalleled level of tensions. Ostensibly about a border demarcation issue, the slump in the relationship nevertheless derives in part from the effort of foreign powers to separate the two partners from each – willfully in the case of Russia, and inadvertently in the case of the West. It is time for both countries and their partners to pay attention to this crucial relationship.
By Casper Wuite
May 28, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Only six months after a closely fought presidential election, Georgia’s political forces are repositioning themselves for the 2020 parliamentary elections. With Georgian Dream’s popularity waning – the party won landslides in previous votes – the party may need support from conservative and ultra-nationalist political parties in order to form a majority government after 2020. The international community, concerned about the rise of pro-Russian and nationalist sentiment, will keenly watch the 2020 elections to see in which direction the country, and its process of democratization and Euro-Atlantic and European Integration, is heading.
By Neil Hauer
March 13, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Georgia’s final presidential elections in October and November 2018 served as a microcosm of the current uninspired state of Georgian politics. Although the incumbent Georgian Dream (GD) party and its leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili, were able to triumph over their opponents, the trials they faced in doing so underscored the degree to which they have lost public confidence. Exiled former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who played a major role in campaigning for the candidate of his United National Movement (UNM) party, also appears to be a largely spent force. Georgia seems to be in need of a new political movement that can mobilize enthusiasm, but it is unclear when, or from where, this will emerge.
By Natalia Konarzewska
January 16, 2019, the CACI Analyst
On November 28, 2018, Georgians elected their next president in the second round, in the last direct presidential elections before the country fully switches to a parliamentary system. Salome Zurabishvili, an independent candidate endorsed by the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, won the election by securing 59 percent of the vote against opponent Grigol Vashadze from United National Movement (UNM) who received 40 percent. Zurabishvili received the largest number of votes in the first election round on October 28 but did not reach the 50 percent threshold needed to win. Observers assessed that elections were largely competitive but not fair. Some irregularities and incidents occurred during the voting, however, they did not seriously affect the outcome.
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.