An uncertain future
Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:35

THE results of presidential elections in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2013 provided few surprises. Giorgi Margvelashvili, the candidate of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream party, won his first term as president on October 27th; Serzh Sarkisian won a second term in Armenia on February 18th; and Ilham Aliyev swept to his third consecutive term in Azerbaijan on October 9th. Yet the elections themselves revealed much about the state of democracy in each country.

The good news is that external monitors described “efficiently administered, transparent” elections in Georgia that “took place in an” amicable and constructive environment”. “Georgia’s democracy is maturing”, concluded the head of one observer mission.

Yet recent constitutional reforms mean that the position of president is now less important than that of prime minister. Because Mr Ivanishvili is stepping down from power in the coming weeks, he announced on November 2nd that the next prime minister (subject to parliamentary confirmation) would be the 31-year-old Irakli Garibashvili, the interior minister, who is one of his long-time employees.

Mr Ivanishvili says he will take a back-seat once retired from office and focus on developing civil society. He denies that he will pull the government’s strings from behind...Continue reading

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