"On October 8, 2016, the country of Georgia held parliamentary elections, which domestic and international observers assessed as democratic, despite isolated violations and violent incidents. The elections tested the resilience of Georgia's ruling party, the center-left Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG), founded by oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2012 to unseat the United National Movement (UNM), formerly led by Mikheil Saakashvili. GDDG won a clear victory in the first round and is on track to form a new government. [...] GDDG's victory reflects broad but measured support for the ruling party. [...] The election reflects the reduced influence of the formerly dominant UNM. The party's decline is attributed in part to the imprisonment or indictment of several senior UNM officials (including Saakashvili) on charges party supporters consider to be political, as well as to harassment of party activists and defections by UNM parliamentarians. [...] Certain domestic trends could complicate Georgia's westward path. Georgians who do not support EU membership are clear about their pro-Russian orientation. [...] One challenge for the Georgian government is how to increase the economic attraction of Western integration. [...] The sense that Georgia's elections were largely democratic and confirmed the country's Western course may reinforce U.S. support for Georgia. One possible area for increased cooperation is trade. [...] However, the preliminary election results are a reminder that democratization in Georgia is a work in progress."
|Report Number:||CRS Insight, IN10596|
|Publisher:||Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service|
|Retrieved From:||Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html|