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Highlights of 2013

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 27
2013 has been a significant year for Georgia. There were many different issues which have influenced Georgia’s reality. Some of them are ongoing processes, which continue even today and the results will be available in the future.

The most unusual and new condition Georgia had in 2013 was an unknown phenomenon until this year. This is cohabitation. If in Europe this word is a characteristic feature of democracy, in Georgia it is understood with a negative meaning.

People supporting the new Georgian Dream coalition often repeated that it would be impossible to have cohabitation with the United National Movement (UNM), which according to many was a criminal organization.

Moreover, many thought that since January 5, 2013, Saakashvili was illegally holding a presidential position. There were multiple facts of confrontation in the local self-governmental bodies. Representatives of the former UNM and current Georgian Dream administrations had many arguments, often transforming into physical clashes.

So the process of cohabitation, although it went on with some problems, luckily ended up peacefully.

Presidential elections on October 27, 2013 were held in a democratic manner. Nobody, even the opposition, doubted its fairness. After the elections of the new president, major amendments in the state constitution were enacted. Many presidential powers and rights were granted to the Prime Minister.

The country became a parliamentary republic instead of a presidential one.

In 2013, the leader of the Georgian dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, resigned from the position of Prime Minister, left politics and thus created an unusual precedent in Georgian politics. Until now, not a single leader of Georgia has ever left their position voluntarily well in advance of the expiration of their terms.

Ivanishvili left a new president and a new Prime Minister behind. Neither of those - either President Giorgi Margvelashvili or Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili - were political figures a year ago. If not for Ivanishvili’s term in office, they would have never been occupying the places where they are now.

Former President Mikheil Saakashvili left the country and started academic activities in the USA. Before this, he promised to take a timeout before he will return to the active politics.

Some analysts saw in the fact that neither Saakashvili nor Ivanishvili remain in politics as a significant signal that for now Georgia refuses to come back to having charismatic leaders.

The biggest foreign policy achievement was the initialization of the EU association membership agreement on November 29, 2013 in Vilnius. EU officials promised to sign the agreement for association membership with Georgia in less than a year. It should be mentioned here, however, that almost all the analysts in Georgia expect Russia to make some nasty moves in this regard towards Georgia.

Russia continues its occupation of Georgian sovereign territories. Moreover, the Russian occupiers are installing barbed wire fences along the administrative border between the Georgian mainland and its breakaway territories. Thus, Moscow wants to physically fix the de facto regimes as independent entities.

Negotiations in Geneva are followed by the new format of negotiations in Prague between Georgia and Russia, which are yielding some progress.

So, once again Georgia is at the crossroads. It has made its choice between Russia and the EU. It is Europe!

Now the thing is how Europe will protect Georgia’s interests. Will Georgia’s European Dreams come true?