September 17, 2012

The latest Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center issue brief, “Georgia’s Polarized Political Landscape on the Eve of Elections,” by Assistant Director Laura Linderman and Director Ross Wilson reviews the state of play and key issues in the country’s October 1 parliamentary elections.

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The contest has boiled down to one between President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) and the newly-formed Georgian Dream Coalition put together by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The competition between these two camps has enlivened the country’s electoral landscape and made for sharp campaigning on both policy and personal grounds. A strong UNM showing and a vote generally regarded as fair will help to cement and further the liberalizing reforms on which Saakashvili has staked his government. They will also improve Georgia’s status in the West. A seriously flawed election and/or divided government that a Georgia Dream Coalition victory would produce will add to the country’s turmoil ahead of the presidential polling in 2013.

Amongst this confusing and highly charged atmosphere, Linderman and Wilson describe campaigning thus far, context in which the election takes place, and what to expect.

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