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Georgian Political Crisis Deepens With Elections

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Monday, November 1
The 2021 self-governmental elections gained far-reaching importance for Georgia. The crisis that started after the 2020 parliamentary elections will deepen if the opposition wins none out of 20 urban centers, in the second round of the elections, or the results of elections would be more believable to the opposition if half of their winning expectations live up to the hype. Yet, there is no perspective to relieve the crisis.

GD leaders actively claim that they'll gain a convincing victory in all locations, where the second round is going to be held. Their announcements carry bile and hatred towards oppositional powers, calling UNM and its allies “criminal groups”, “radical anti-governmental and anti-church powers”, who wish to destabilize the process instead of building up a country. Statements about victory and “bad opposition ending” are not the same and they contain a great threat to political processes.

The opposition talks about the importance of coalition ruling, but GD does not approve of the idea of coalition ruling, therefore, it is not acceptable to them. However, in Europe, which our country minds to join, coalition ruling, moreover in parliamentary ruling conditions, is a usual case. Additionally, it is a kind of democratic governing.

Results of the 2020 parliamentary elections, which the opposition denies, give GD the ability to prevent a threat of coalition ruling, but in some urban centers, where the second round should be held, there is a high chance of oppositional candidates winning. While facing these perspectives, GD leaders threaten that the central government will not cooperate with them and those oppositional candidates who win certain urban centers would fail to do anything. Again, this is a strange announcement to democracy, because self-government has its constitutional rights, also it is pretty normal for self-government not to be one-party and the central government could cooperate with oppositional self-governments. Nevertheless, in this case, the government has its logic – they see “oppositional islands” as “revolutionary hearths”, thus perceive it as critically “dangerous”. This may lead to a strengthened desire for snap parliamentary elections, also weakening of administrative resources during future elections in those regions, where self-government would be controlled by the opposition.

The governmental party opposed its massive rally of 27th October to October 14th crowded oppositional rallies, with people brought from different regions.

Firstly, this was a demonstration of power by GD and it was accordingly assumed by the opposition. The Saakashvili factor stresses pre-election tensions even more. At first glance, GD locked up its “main enemy” in prison, where, according to ruling party leaders, he should spend several more years. On the other hand, Saakashvili’s hunger strike gives even less time for GD to act properly. Some people may want the death of the ex-president and they do not hide it either, but in fact, this could be the hardest hit to the ruling team. Not giving up a claim, that Saakashvili should be hospitalized in a local prison hospital except a special clinic, is nothing but a loss to the government.

A prison hospital is not only poorly equipped but also half of the service staff are prisoners and criminals. GD leaders are hesitating. They refuse to pay attention to European parliamentarians and politician’s demands, to hospitalize Saakashvili, and also do not let Ukrainian journalists and Saakashvili’s lawyer enter Georgia.

If we consider the fact that Ukraine counts as a strategic partner of Georgia and Saakashvili is a citizen of Ukraine, who was actively involved in Ukrainian politics, his imprisonment and mistreatment could affect Georgia-Ukraine relationships in a negative sense, apart from driving the country backwards.

(Translated from Georgian by Zaur Mgebrishvili)