Category Archives: Georgia

Georgia – Six parliamentary groups and a multi-party government

The situation in Georgia is even more interesting than I thought.

The election produced a turnover in power with the Georgian Dream party (or coalition) winning 85 seats and the incumbent UNM party (or coalition) winning 65 seats.

Parliament has now met for the first time and, Civil.Ge reports, six parliamentary groups have formed, three from the UNM and three from Georgian Dream. The minimum number for a group is six deputies.

The reports shows that the GD group itself has 65 deputies, the Georgian Dream-Free Democrats group has 11 deputies and there is also a third faction, Georgian Dream-Republicans.

For its part, the UNM has 46 deputies, the UNM-Majoritarians have 7 deputies and the UNM-Regions have 7 deputies.

This is interesting because, over and above the alternation in power, there seems to be a genuine multi-party competition beneath the two-block politics.

This competition is also interesting in terms of coalition-building. Xinhua.net reports the party affiliations of the proposed cabinet ministers. It shows that there are various experts, most of whom, I suspect, are close to the Georgian Dream leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili. However, it also shows that there are seven Georgian Dream ministers (not counting the PM), four Georgian Dream-Free Democrats ministers, including the Vice-PM, and one minister from Georgian Dream-Republicans. This suggests that Georgian Dream-Free Democrats are a little over-represented on the basis of their parliamentary strength.

Georgia – Parliamentary elections

President Saakashvili has conceded defeat in Georgia’s parliamentary elections. He has announced that his UNM party will go into opposition and acknowledged that the Georgian Dream party will have a majority in parliament.

Civil.ge is reporting that with 85% of the votes counted that were cast in the precincts, the UNM party has won 42.42% and the Georgian Dream party has won 54.89%.

Parliament comprises 73 single-member constituencies and 77 deputies elected proportionally with a 5% threshold. Civil.ge says that the UNM is leading in 37 of the single-member constituencies and Georgian Dream in 35. With the proportional results to follow, Georgian Dream will have a majority.

The big question to follow is whether there will be a period of cohabitation. The presidential election is scheduled for October 2013. So, there could be one year of cohabitation, which is likely to be very difficult given the polarisation of the party system. Georgian Dream leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has called on President Saakashvili to resign a year early.

It is worth remembering that Georgia currently has a president-parliamentary system and that cohabitation is very rare under such a system. The constitutional changes introducing a premier-presidential system and reducing the powers of the president are only due to be implemented after the presidential election.

So, even though there seems as if there will be a peaceful alternation in power, the situation will remain very difficult for the immediate future.

Georgia – Change of PM

I am not sure how I missed this development, but there was a change of PM in Georgia in July.

On Ivane “Vano” Merabishvili of President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) party was appointed as PM. He replaced Nikoloz “Nika” Gilauri who had been in office since February 2009. There is a report in civil.ge. The key element of the report is that rather than a technocratic figure, PM Merabishvili is a more important party figure.

Parliamentary elections will be held on 1 October. The UNM party is facing a challenge from the Georgian Dream–Democratic Georgia party, which is led by Bidzina Ivanishvili.

A recent opinion poll reported here suggests that the UNM has a good lead over the Georgian Dream party.

The presidential election will be held in October 2013.

 

Georgia – Constitutional amendment

In Georgia, parliament has passed a constitutional amendment. According to Civil.ge the amendment states that a Georgian-born citizen of an EU-member state, who “has permanently lived in Georgia for last 5 years”, will be eligible to stand for election.

The sole purpose of the amendment, as reported by Civil.ge is to allow the leader of the Georgian Dream–Democratic Georgia opposition coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, to stand in parliamentary elections later this year, as well as in the presidential election next year. Ivanishvili has French citizenship. Therefore, as things stood, he could not stand for election.

The story is more complicated, needless to say. Ivanishvili is a very rich businessman who lost his Georgian citizenship last year after he announced he was forming a new party to rival President Saakashvili’s ruling party. This looked like a blatant attempt to stop a potentially popular rival from challenging Saakashvili.

On the surface it would see as if the constitutional amendment rectifies the situation and shows that Georgia, unlike some of its neighbours, allows a free opposition.

However, Ivanishvili has not welcomed the amendment and says that he will not stand. In effect, he wants President Saakashvili to go back on his decision to strip him of his citizenship in the first place

All in all, there is a tense political game going on in the run up to the upcoming electoral cycle.

South Ossetia – Re-run of presidential election

In December Alla Dzhioyeva claimed that she had been elected as president in South Ossetia. However, Anatoly Bibilov was proclaimed the winner. A deal was struck whereby the election would be re-run and Dzhioyeva would be allowed to stand again. This did not happen. In January she withdrew from the election. In February, the security services raided her office to take her into custody. She had to be hospitalized as a result.

In the end, the election was re-run at the weekend. Wikipedia has the results from the Election Commission website. Here are the figures:

Leonid Tibilov – 42.48%
David Sanakoyev – 24.58%
Dmitriy Medoyev – 23.79%
Stanislav Kochiev – 5.26%

So, there will be a second-round run-off between the top two candidates.

Georgia refuses to accept the legitimacy of the election.

Georgia – Government confidence vote

In Georgia, the government has won a confidence vote. Civil Georgia is reporting that a motion had to be tabled because more than one-third of government members had changed since the previous vote in July 2010. This vote was precipitated by the appointment of a new minister for Health last week.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, the government won a huge majority. The vote was 101 in favour and 16 votes against.

The list of government ministers is also available at the Civil Georgia website.

South Ossetia – Political deal

In the end, I never finished the story of the South Ossetia presidential election crisis. Anyway, the Central Asia-Caucasus Analysis magazine has a nice report that outlines the outcome and provides some useful analysis of the situation.

Basically, the stand-off between President Kokoity and the de facto winner of the presidential election, Alla Dzhioyeva, has ended. They agreed a deal whereby the former would stand down and the de jure winner, Anatoly Bibilov, would not take up office. In return, Dzhioyeva would agree to end her protest against the election. In addition, she would be allowed to stand at the re-run of the election in March. Previously, the Constitutional Council had ruled that she was ineligible.

The deal seems to have been implemented. So, the next stage in the process is the re-run of the election.

South Ossetia – Constitutional questions

This post comes directly from RFE/RL. So, the details of the story can be found there.

Basically, there is impending constitutional limbo following the disputed South Ossetian election last week. The current president’s mandate ran out on 7 December. However, so far, no constitutional arrangement has been made to extend his term, given the official annulment of the recent presidential election. If the term is not extended, the power devolves to the PM who has been in dispute with the president for some time.

Meanwhile, the ‘winner’ of the election, Alla Dzhioyeva, has been barred from standing in the proposed re-run of the election next March. She is still threatening to go ahead with an ‘inauguration’ in the next few days, but there are some signs that she may back down.

South Ossetia – Presidential election 2nd round

The second round of the presidential election in South Ossetia was held on Sunday. The result has worsened the political situation there.

It seems as if Alla Dzhioeva ‘won’ the election fairly clearly ahead of Anatoly Bibilov, the preferred candidate of incumbent President Kokoity. However, Bibilov’s party challenged the result. The Supreme Court upheld the challenge and has called for new elections on 25 March.

Now, the Washington Post is reporting that Dzhioeva’s supporters are gathering in the capital and that she has declared herself president and will try to form a government.