Political Polarization – a Vicious Circle or a Missed Opportunity for Small Political Parties?
Depicting the October 2, 2021 local elections as a “referendum” brought a revisiting of the distribution of votes among the established political parties. The votes of those inclined towards the opposition merged, consolidating into backing for the largest opposition party – the United National Movement (UNM). However, the UNM was able to secure only 30.60% of the total votes (cesko.ge 2021a), while the ruling Georgian Dream party managed to get more than 43% of the votes (cesko.ge 2021a). In spite of concerns about alleged violations expressed by OSCE/ODIHR and local non-governmental organizations (Transparency International Georgia 2021, Interpresnews.ge 2021), these figures eradicated the possibility of snap parliamentary elections. However, they might be seen as a strong warning signal for the government, which has opted in its third term to confront Georgia’s Western partners and challenge general democratic principles.