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Tunisian echos in Georgian politics

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 25
Georgian media, politicians and analysts are speculating keenly over the possibility of a social explosion in the country for two reasons. One is the high level of inflation and subsequent increase in prices which seriously deteriorates the overall situation of the population, while the second is the revolution in Tunisia, where social hardship resulted in a change in the leadership of the country.

Georgian journalists have made frequent references to the Tunisian events believing that they should be taken seriously by the Georgian leadership. Tunisia was regarded as a stable Europised state moving towards liberalisation. The basis for this successful development was said to be the November 7, 1987 so called Jasmine revolution. There was a strong presidential democracy in the country and the president was considered the number one person leading the modernisation and development of the country.

Georgian journalists note that in Tunisia there appeared to be no need for a strong opposition and the consistent fight associated with such an opposition. In fact in Tunisia the people decided for themselves, acting without any preliminary organisational structures. Journalists say that Georgia’s social background is rather poor. More than half a million people live below the poverty line, with that figure constantly increasing. Officially unemployment is at 17%, however many analysts believe the figure is above 20%. Opposition leaders observing the situation think that a social explosion is inevitable in the country and are of the opinion that it might be beneficial for the country. They think that if this happened there would be chaos for a while but very soon the situation would settle down.

However other politicians and analysts are very concerned about such possibility saying that it would be followed by unmanageable processes; they think that all responsible political forces should do their best to avoid such developments.

There are also other opinions which suggest that there are no preconditions for a social revolt in the country and generally Georgia is not moving towards that; the country has resisted and overcome many social hardships and this time it will be the same.

What is the reaction of officials towards this option? Some think that the ruling power might itself provoke social unrest in order to set snap parliamentary elections, which according to some opinions the ruling power has a very good chance of again winning. So this is an option. Another opinion is that the ruling power will try to carry out steps to relax the social situation and mobilise extra financial resources. However the situation is very complicated because most of the financial support Georgia received following the Russian invasion is exhausted, and the country may well face serious budgetary problems in the second half of 2011. So, either the country has to borrow more money or sell property. The prospects are rather vague and unpleasant.