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Swedish analyst criticizes Georgia’s social programs

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Monday, April 7

Swedish political writer John Munkhammar criticized the government’s implementation of social assistance programs in the run-up to parliamentary elections.

Munkhammar, who authored the book Guide to Reform, said on a recent trip to Georgia that the government’s current social assistance programs are not in accordance with their earlier reforms.

“The government has been implementing reforms for several years and now they have suddenly started implementing social projects… This is the wrong thing to do, however many other countries have done this in the run-up to elections to win votes,” the newspaper 24 Saati quoted Munkhammar as saying.

He also emphasized that while governments’ popularity ratings initially decrease as they embark on reform projects, successful reforms will help win votes in the long run.

“I told them [government officials] that when they start implementing reforms their popularity may decrease, however when the reforms start producing results and people understand that they bring positive changes, they will be reelected,” he said.

Munkhammar added that the full benefits of economic reforms take years to come through, and said that successful reforms in Georgia would put the country in line with European standards of living in 15 to 20 years’ time.