The Georgian political crisis, timeline and update, with editorial note

By: Ivy Beck

With a note from the editor

March 6, 2021

Image credit: “Tbilisi, Georgia, Parliament Building at night” by internautenbasis is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Recent international headlines have been decorated with news of the Georgian political crisis. 

As tensions escalate, the EU urges the Georgian parties to ease domestic tensions, see AP News.

The European Council President Charles Michel made a personal visit to the Georgian Republic on March 1, appearing to invite the opposition parties to engage in talks under his mediation as was stated by EURACTIV. Remarks by Charles Michel at his Georgian visit are available at European Council of the European Union. 

On March 3, the Civil.ge posted a civil call to action petitioning for the redress of Georgian politics to allow for compromise between the diverse, divided parties. 

Editorial note: 

Exit-Soviet nations are often the subject of western disinformation, whether by an incorrect relay of the nuances of the various civil aspects shaping their politics or by politicized media. Discussion is muted due to these issues. As the Georgian political situation unfolds, Republic Underground news will aggregate a timeline of crisis events, be they recent historical or new events. Working from this timeline, we will audit the western reportage of the issues in Georgian to bring you an up-to-date fact check of the media representation of these events, as well as new reports. 

Explainer: the Georgian crisis__

When opposition right-wing groups burst through the doors of the U.S. Senate chamber in January, the western world became hyper attuned to its political crisis. Yet, the United States is not the only country currently residing in such a political crisis. Late last October, a parliamentary election was held in the country of Georgia. This election started just like any ordinary one, but as the battle for votes between the Georgia Dream Party and the United National Movement proceeded, tension started to arise. The finishing results of the election deemed The Georgia Dream Party the official victor, but this only erupted more tension in the country.

Allegations of voter fraud arose, and the opposition refused defeat and demanded a rerun. Citing AP News The government declined their proposition. Soon after, protestors began to gather on the premises of the Georgia capitol building demanding a rerun and the release of the United National Movement’s leader, Nika Melia. Although Melia faces charges for inciting violence during protests in 2019 and afterward violating the terms of his bail, followers claim that he is merely a “political prisoner”. Citing EURACTIV 

Due to the declamatory amount of civil unrest, EU official, Charles Michel, held a meeting over dinner with Georgia’s new Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, and various members of the opposing parties to discuss and resolve the country’s political crisis. Michel claims that compromises being made will lead to a “mature democracy”, “stability and prosperity”, and “an even closer relationship between EU and Georgia”. Current Prime Minister, Garibashvili, described the meeting as an “excellent initiative”. Citing EURACTIV 

What happens next?

In two weeks, various representatives will gather in Brussels to attend an EU-Georgian association council meeting, to assess the progress made in enforcing the association agreement. This agreement exists as the basis of the relationship between the European Union and Georgia. Citing EURACTIV

Disenfranchised voters, and the impact on surrounding areas 

 “The majoritarian component, as it is conceived in the context of the current party landscape, corrupts this reflection of the voter’s mindset,” wrote Civil, see Civil.ge  This, in turn, will not correctly reflect the political wants and needs of the voters, after the votes of the people are converted into mandates. 

Soon, sources say that elections will be performed with a fully-proportional system, and with a five percent barrier; rather than the usual one percent barrier. In this case, instead of bettering the already toxic environment of the political crisis, a larger percent barrier will worsen it. If this type of political behavior continues, it is possible that situations like these will lead Georgia to become either a non-democratic country or will lead it back to its soviet ways. This will not only affect Georgia as a whole, but it will also have an impact on the surrounding areas.