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The future of small parties: Will Georgia be left with a two-party system?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 17
The October 1 parliamentary elections became disastrous for those parties who were running in the elections that were not named the Georgian Dream or the United National Movement. Outside of these two parties, no one qualified for the parliament and managed to overcome the 5% threshold. Nobody managed to win any majoritarian, directly-elected seats in the parliament either. Therefore nobody apart from the above-mentioned two political forces will be represented in the parliament. The question now arises: will these parties continue existing and what should they do next?

Obviously there are those in these parties a certain number of worthy professionals who deserve to be promoted. Before the elections, the leader of the Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, named several parties as satellites for the ruling National Movement and excluded his cooperation with any of them. Among them he named the Christian Democrats, the National Democrats, Labor and the New Rights party. In response, these parties have criticized the Georgian Dream and in particular– Ivanishvili’s position about the two political poles. Neither of those parties was prepared to unite in these blocks, at least Christian Democrats, New Rights and National Democrats. They have never been united. The total amount of votes collected by those parties did not exceed 5% overall.

Political analysts need to carry out serious and thorough research of what happened. The first simple answer to the failures of the UNM was that the voters were fed up with the Saakashvili regime and did not want to see him and his party as the ruling power anymore. The population was and currently is prepared for change, and over the past 8 years, people have become discontent. The population was looking for someone who would change the situation and this man appeared to be Ivanishvili. So, the essential segment of voters moved their sentiments in the direction of Ivanishvili and his coalition. Therefore all other parties received practically no support. Moreover, Ivanishvili labeled these parties as satellites of the National Movement and they were unable to remove this label. As a result, the electorate by and large ignored them.

As for the future fate of those parties, the leader of the New Rights, David Gamkrelidze, left politics as he had said he would prior to the elections. It is possible that the Christian Democrats will survive, but everything depends on their leader Giogi Targamadze; if he quits politics, his party might disappear. The National Democrats existed, but hardly were expected to get involved in politics. As for the Labour Party, this is the only leftist party in the Georgian political spectrum and it is unlikely that they will receive any success in the future. On the other hand, in Britain and the USA, there are two major political forces although there does exist some small parties as well. So, if the UNM does not collapse, presumably there could be two major parties in Georgia.