Democratic backsliding in Georgia?

Levan Kakhishvili
Originally posted by Institute for European Politics (IEP)

There is a long tradition in Georgia of reforming the electoral system. Each government has tried to adjust the system in a way that would help to guarantee the preservation of its own power. In June 2019, against the background of public protests, the current ruling party, Georgian Dream (GD), promised that it would amend the constitution in order to hold the 2020 parliamentary elections with a fully proportional voting system, including a natural barrier.

With that announcement, it seemed that the Georgian political class had finally moved to ensure the advancement of procedural democracy in the country. However, the tables were turned on 14 November 2019, when the bill on constitutional amendments failed to pass at the first hearing. Feeling deceived, citizens hit the streets and started protesting against this unexpected turn of events. Nevertheless, despite the public anger, the ruling party is not currently ready to make any concessions. On the contrary, there might be a risk of further democratic backsliding in Georgia.

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