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How will a partially free country develop?

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 21
Freedom House reported just a few days ago on the level of freedom in each country and territory worldwide. It states that in the world as a whole democratic development is either going very slowly or retreating. The same can be said concerning Georgia. Some analysts try to comfort themselves by stating that the situation in Georgia is better than in most other former Soviet countries, but others think that what is most important is for democracy to be developing, and Georgia should show this positive tendency.

Freedom House said that in the world generally freedom is being restricted and more countries have a negative tendency in this respect than a positive one. However some figures are encouraging. Today 89 countries are described as 'free' by Freedom House and 160 have democratic election systems. 20 years ago the numbers of countries in these categories were, 61 and 76 respectively.

2009 was described as a period of stability in Georgia compared with previous years. Georgia is listed among the 'partially free' countries, which under the Freedom House definition are states where political rights are limited, one political party dominates, there is an environment of corruption, there is no rule of law and there are signs of ethnic or religious confrontation. Georgia “satisfies” almost all these criteria. The report also states that despite a constitutional guarantee of civil and political rights Georgia still has a hybrid system in which Parliament is loyal to the President and unable to limit the executive's authoritarian tendencies. This inability to limit the President’s powers and the refusal to conduct genuine dialogue with the opposition create tension. There are many questions also concerning the war with Russia which remain unanswered. The report states that the mistakes made during the Presidential elections in January 2008 were not corrected at the Parliamentary elections of the same year. The report also highlights Georgia's shortcomings in combating corruption.

Georgian analysts, however, are still more optimistic and hope that democratic developments will continue, highlighting the importance of improving the election process and the situation in the media. Archil Gegeshidze thinks that Georgia is very advanced compared with other states in the region but also that Georgia should be competing with advanced countries and adopting their standards. To cut it short, Georgia is in stormy seas again. Let us hope that the storm will calm and the boat will survive.