By Zaur Shiriyev
December 20th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Georgia’s recent parliamentary election is hard to distinguish from previous elections in terms of the consolidation of power by the ruling Georgian Dream party. However, a significant difference can be observed in the increased political participation among ethnic Azerbaijanis, most clearly manifested in the number of Azerbaijani-origin candidates who not only ran but were elected, as well as their age and diverse political belonging. This recent shift has introduced a new level of electoral competition, bringing with it the complexities of party politics. The ruling party provides resources to support its own candidates – as seen when two Azerbaijanis lost amid claims of electoral violations.
By Eduard Abrahamyan
December 16th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
On November 12, 2016, Vladimir Putin officially approved a government proposal to form a permanent joint Russian-Armenian ground force. This is the second Russian initiative following the establishment of a united Russian-Armenian regional air defense system. As the crisis in Ukraine has expanded, the security thinking of the Russian leadership has undergone important changes regarding the imposition of actionable mechanisms intended to prevent allies such as Armenia from drifting westwards. By reinforcing existing military bases and simultaneously integrating Armenia’s armed forces into its Southern Military District (SMD) framework, Russia seeks to bolster its control over Armenia’s defense strategy and defense policy-making.
By John C. K. Daly
December 12th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
On October 2, China and Georgia signed a preliminary free trade agreement (FTA), scheduled to take effect from the end of 2017, China’s first substantive FTA negotiations in Eurasia. The FTA’s 17 sections include trade goods, services, intellectual property rights and emerging issues like e-commerce, with the two parties agreeing to remove all tariffs for most of the two nations’ commodity trade, as well as pledging to open many service sector markets and improve bilateral trade laws while identifying key areas for enhancing cooperation.
By George Tsereteli
December 8th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Despite the negative political discourse, pessimism and apathy shown by a historically low voter turnout in Georgia’s parliamentary elections in October, there are tangible reasons to be cautiously optimistic. When compared to other post-Soviet nations, Georgia is far ahead in terms of many economic and governance indicators. The main question moving ahead is how the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party will use its newly-gained supermajority in parliament. The hope is that the ruling party will lead in an inclusive and non-unilateral way – respecting opposition viewpoints – while enacting responsible policies and reforms.
By Natalia Konarzewska
November 25th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Georgia held parliamentary elections on October 8 and 30. Georgia’s ruling party, Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) emerged decisively victorious and was able to secure a constitutional majority after a run-off election in the end of October. Although GDDG was able to gain widespread support, the low turnout suggests disappointment among voters, caused especially by the failure of Georgian authorities to counter the country’s economic downturn and worsening socio-economic conditions. International observers described the elections as well-administered and competitive, but the turbulent campaign sparked fears of violence in the aftermath of the elections.
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.