Evaluation Of The Pre-Election Period, Preliminary Predictions
Judging by the current disposition of forces on Georgia’s political arena, the ruling party “Georgian Dream” is likely to win the upcoming parliamentary elections. Of course, everything can change in the next three months. However,if “Georgian Dream” ends up getting less than a half of the votes, it can simply form a coalition and become a part of the coalition government, that will likely consist of two parties. It is possible that “Lelo” might be the party that enters the coalition with “Georgian Dream”. “Lelo”’s leaders can be characterized as moderate, which is especially important since “nationals”, or “former nationals” are declared ideological enemies of the ruling party. That is why it would be easiest for “Lelo” to accept a coalition with “Georgian Dream”.
By presenting itself as a pro-Western and pro-European party, “Georgian Dream” is, indeed, playing a very smart game. Thus, for it to enter a coalition with parties like “Georgian March” would not only be foolish, but also quite dangerous for their political stand.
Russia obviously would like to have a pro-Russian government in Georgia, however there is a little chance of that happening, as pro-Russian establishment has no real support among the Georgian society. I do not know, how Kremlin will attempt to meddle with the upcoming elections, but I am almost certain that openly pro-Russian forces will not come into power.
As for other parties, “Alliance of Patriots” is likely to get into parliament, with a total of up to 5-7% of the votes. This is a serious claim. I do not know how far Nino Burjanadze can go. And there are no chances for “Georgian March”.
I will try to list the parties, that I believe will get into the future parliament. These parties are: “Georgian Dream”, “National Movement”, “European Georgia”. “Lelo” will get in, and there are good chances of “Labour Party” and “Girchy” getting in as well.
“Georgian Dream” is likely to remain in power for the third term in a row, as part of the coalition government. “Dream” will probably continue to be the loudest, leading voice of the Georgian politics.
Again, the polarization is quite possible, in a form of “dreamers” vs “nationals”. It would nevertheless be beneficial for both of the parties involved. If the choice is between the “Dream” and “nationals”, the majority would rather vote for Bidzina Ivanishvili. Many will vote against Saakashvili. This is a proven method that the “Dream” is using for more than seven years now. The ex-president and leader of the party “National Movement” of Georgia Mikhaïl Saakashvili is also completely comfortable being the main opposition force in the country.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely helped increase the ratings of the ruling party. However, there is an economic crisis coming up and it will not be possible to get away from it. But in my experience, when people take to the streets in Georgia, it does not happen because of the economic problems. Oddly enough, we have never seriously discussed economics since 1980s, when the wave of the national movement for independence began. People do not go to rallies because of the economy, they take it to the streets to fight injustice.
Tornike Sharashenidze, Georgian Strategic Analysis Centre GSAC
Original text here (in russian)