Georgia 2016: win for Georgian Dream, defeat for lari

This year in Georgia ends with the win of Georgian Dream in the fight with United National Movement and the biggest devaluation of the national currency, so the country enters 2017 in the not so holiday mood, Georgian experts said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

Head of the Center for Global Studies Nana Devdariani named elections and devaluation as events of the year for Georgia. "First of all, this year we held parliamentary elections. This year will also be remembered for a record devaluation of the lari, especially towards the end of the year. Along with other elections in the post-Soviet space and in the United States, we showed a huge drop in credibility of the electoral institution. Overall, this year was pretty difficult," she admitted.

She explained that this year's election campaign in Georgia was built on negative trends, not positive. "Chimera in the form of United National Movement played a huge role in the elections. Georgian Dream suggested the formula: vote for us, or there is a danger that the UNM will return to power, and it was a pretty negative step, because UNM has no actual support to return. In addition, Georgian Dream currently splits this party in two categories - those who support Bokeria and who support Saakashvili," she said.

According to head of the Institute of Management Strategy Petre Mamradze, Georgian Dream victory at the elections is the key event of this year, which allowed to stabilize political situation in Georgia. "They focused their political power, and the elections took place without violence and a large number of violations. After using all of its administrative and financial resources, Georgian Dream got a constitutional majority, despite the fact that less than 20% voted for it. Political stability has been maintained thanks to this," he noted.

But politics did not help Georgian economy in the past year. "Lari continued to drop, and it's not just because of international situation, but also because of complete inaction of the authorities, their unwillingness and inability to carry out reforms. This year showed the bad side of our patron-centric system: there is a political party Georgian Dream, it has a patron - Bidzina Ivanishvili, who doesn't intervene in political affairs for quite some time - but still afraid to do anything out of fear that Ivanishvili will not like it. Hence paralysis of the authorities," he explained.

Speaking about Georgia's foreign policy, both experts pointed out to the absence of any dynamics in country's relationship with other countries."Nothing really changed, since newly elected Georgian Dream continues the rhetoric of the Euro-Atlantic integration, verbally declaring the improvement of relationship with Russia," Devdariani stressed.

"But it's great that Irakli Alasania and Tina Khidasheli, who irritated people with their thoughtless statements about Russia and the West, are now gone," Mamradze said.

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