Democracy has been in retreat across Eurasia in recent years, and in many countries, the lure of Western political models has faded. But Georgia has been an exception, note analysts Joseph D’Urso and Dennis Sammut. Over the past four years, the country’s media and civil society have flourished and the government has pursued a robust program of reforms. Tbilisi’s pro-Western policies—from its signing of an association agreement with the European Union to its aspiration to join NATO—enjoy solid support from Georgian citizens and the backing of the country’s major political parties, they write for Foreign Affairs:
Georgians will be spoiled for choice in next month’s election: nineteen political parties and six electoral blocks, grouping together a further seventeen parties, will participate. Georgian Dream will likely remain the largest party, and the United National Movement the second largest. Unlike in previous elections—as in 2003, when allegations of fraud led to the downfall of Shevardnadze—it seems as though this year’s vote will be a fair one.
Unless there is some kind of political earthquake, a large bipartisan majority in the new parliament will support pro-NATO and pro-EU policies. But it is also likely that one or two of the smaller parties that oppose or are ambivalent about Georgia’s pro-Western orientation will take seats, too. Like the uncertainties of Georgia’s neighborhood, that is a reminder that neither Tbilisi nor its friends in the West can afford to be complacent about Georgia’s progress.