In Georgia, the opposition may become the next COVID casualty

By Max Fras

While Georgia’s lockdown enjoys support at home and abroad, the public health crisis has had a negative impact on the country’s political pluralism and opposition. As every Caucasus democratisation conference speaker is likely to remind you, democracy is what happens between the elections as much as what happens during them.

In order to maintain its relevance in the political future of the country, Georgia’s opposition needs to work together (an all-too common refrain over the years) and, above all, insist on full implementation of the electoral and judicial reforms, or risk Georgian Dream institutionalising itself as the party of power for at least another term.

Ironically, securing a more pluralist multi-party democracy in Georgia will also require extending the current one-party rule by postponing the October elections – but will the key political stakeholders, exhausted by the current crisis, be willing to contemplate this?

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Max Fras is an international development consultant and researcher, focusing on civil society, youth and education in the European neighbourhood and an 2019-2020 Eurasia Democratic Security Network (EDSN) Fellow .