The Veiled Influence of Illiberal Groups on Georgian Politics
A Trend to Persist?
Illiberal groups were plainly visible during the 2020 parliamentary elections with at least 10 parties with right-wing agendas participating. Recent amendments to the electoral law which lowered the electoral threshold for parties has been positively received in terms of the diverse and multiparty government, so essentially needed for solidifying Georgian democracy. At the same time, the new regulations have encouraged some illiberal groups to participate in the political process. Together with the transformed Georgian March, there were several other parties appealing to the National-Liberation movement and to its leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia from the 1990s. While these parties did not garner much support, with only APG earning enough votes for a mandate, it is worth noting that the supply side of far-right is steadily increasing across the country.
Even if these illiberal groups have limited direct representation in legislative and executive bodies of the state, they have been affecting policy decisions and legislative amendments at multiple instances during the past years. Disregarding seemingly unimportant actors, such as media outlets or social movements could lead to overlooking the societal and political influences that illiberal actors manage to garner in Georgia. Against a background of democratization and democratic consolidation, these developments are particularly troublesome for a liberal-democracy trying to solidify its values in the country. While it is now the matter of speculation whether the direct representation on governing platforms of such groups will increase, it remains fairly evident that this is not the only way through which they are able to influence Georgian politics nowadays.