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Will the elections result in catastrophe?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, September 14
Time flies and the parliamentary elections in Georgia are fast approaching. Nobody inside or outside the country can say with confidence that the elections will be fair and peaceful. Everybody expresses concern about what will happen after the elections. There is a feeling that irregularities are bound to happen and consequently major protests will erupt afterwards.

Georgia’s Western friends keep reminding the authorities to hold fair elections by international standards, at the same time telling the opposition to recognize the results. However the election campaign is so tense that the country might appear to be almost in a state of crisis. All the major political parties, especially the ruling United National Movement and the Georgian Dream coalition are absolutely confident of victory.

Unfortunately everybody should be reminded that since regaining independence some 20 years ago there has been no peaceful change of government in Georgia, only a coup d'etat and a revolution: winning or losing everything seems to be a rule for Georgian politics. It seems as if none of the parties cares about the country. All they care about is gaining power. One can judge for him-or herself how corrupt the current administration is. What the opposition will do if they win or if they lose is anybody's guess. Nobody has any interest in political platforms or programs. Instead every party offers populist promises that closely resemble each other.

The President uses coarse and defamatory language to describe his political opponents, who so far have refrained from responding in kind. A prominent representative of the ruling party recently stated that the class that supports the political opposition should be eliminated, which dangerously sounds close to Bolshevik rhetoric about eliminating capitalists, the aristocracy, etc.. Perhaps Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President was not far off when he recently described the Georgian election campaign as having a Leninist flavor. Some analysts suggest that with their intimidation of political opponents government officials are instilling fear into the population. The United National Movement cannot afford to lose the elections, so it will do everything possible to secure victory. However Georgian Dream also understands that this is their one realistic chance of victory. Any post-electoral confrontation will be fierce.