WAITING FOR THE GODOT — DEMOCRACY’S WHEELS ARE SPINNING — PLENTY TOO CHOOSE FROM — NATO ROLLING THROUGH UNCLE JOE’S HOOD
This is the Daily Dispatch, our editorial take on Georgia-related developments of the day, delivered to your mailboxes every evening, except weekends, Tbilisi-time. That’s what the day looked like:
DOG AND PONY SHOW Ana Dolidze, a newbie politician, decide to ride on the coattails of Georgia’s canine celebrity Kupata – a stray dog of the seaside port of Batumi, who built international notoriety by regularly helping local schoolchildren cross the busy city thoroughfare. Kupata for Prime Minister! posted Dolidze on her Facebook page a call that became an instant hit with Georgia’s twittering masses. Ana Dolidze’s announcement was somewhat tongue-in-cheek as only recently Georgia’s prodigial president, Mikheil Saakashvili announced an intention to “return” and was indeed named the prime-ministerial hopeful by his party, United National Movement (UNM).
TREADING WATER According to the Nations in Transit 2020 report by the U.S. based rights watchdog Freedom House, Georgia’s overall democracy slid from 3.29 to 3.25 in 2019, showing the country stuck right in the middle of the 7-point scale the watchdog uses to measure the extent of democratic transition. Freedom House pinned down the dispersal of the June 2019 protests as the biggest single blow to Georgia’s democratic credentials, while also mentioning an unexpected U-turn (later redressed) to pass the fully proportional electoral system, persisting political polarization, the flawed process for appointing the new Supreme Court judges, and several controversial court cases. The October elections will certainly affect the 2020 score, the time will show, in which direction.
ROUTE 66 You may say whatever you want about the flaws of the Georgian electoral system but at least you can’t deny the vibrant pluralism of the political landscape. This fall the CEC green-lighted no less than 66 political parties to contest the general elections. One could definitely make a drinking game off the list of the accepted political parties…
FULL METAL JACKETS An American military vehicle convoy, decorated with Georgian and American flags, marched from the Senaki military base to Vaziani through Gori – Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s hometown and, incidentally, the area heavily targeted by the Russian shells and bombs during the 2008 war. The march was part of the U.S. and Georgia-led fifth Noble Partner military exercise that brought together over 2,700 military personnel from Georgia, the U.S., the UK, Poland, and France.
That’s full lid for today!