By Joseph Larsen
May 16, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The ongoing constitutional reform process clearly indicates that Georgia’s further democratic progress rests on shaky footing. The proposed constitutional amendments would weaken the power and popular mandate of the president and likely give the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party an undue advantage in parliamentary elections. The proposed amendments justifiably raise fears that GD is just the latest political force with ambitions for single-party rule. Rather than locking in the country’s democratic gains, the draft constitution looks likely to consolidate GD’s legislative and executive power.
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 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 Boris Ajeganov
March 7th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Uncertainty on the future of Georgia’s energy security has been growing since late 2015, when Georgia’s minister of energy and deputy PM Kakha Kaladze met with Alexey Miller, CEO of Russia’s Gazprom twice in the span of a month. Discussions on Gazprom’s potential return to the Georgian market quickly raised eyebrows in Baku and caused popular protests in Tbilisi. In a March 4 turnaround, Kaladze announced a deal to receive additional gas from Azerbaijan, thus removing the need to import Russian gas. Party politics aside, Tbilisi appears to have skillfully used its strategic position in the South Caucasus to secure a favorable energy deal without sacrificing its sovereignty.
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.