My view of Georgia's current political mess.
|Liberal Democracy is the new credo in this world.
The democratic principles of separation of power and civilian control become more important than ever. The United State’s fight to promote democracy in the Middle East is a great example.
But how serious is this fight taken in other parts of the world?
Georgia came into the spotlight of world events because of its ‘Rose-Revolution’ in 2003. For five minutes the world watched as the new President Saakashvili pledged to fight endemic corruption and promote democratic development. Now, four years later, Georgia is one of the biggest international aid recipients compared to other transition countries. The question arises how much democratic development took really place.
If one scratches on the surface the failures become obvious. True democratic development is still far away.
President Saakashvili used the anti-corruption drive to consolidate power and take control over the Legislation and the Judiciary. The president’s right to dissolve the parliament on insubstantial grounds and, until recently, appoint and dismiss any common court judge, casts doubt on the true extent of separation of power.
Another example of democratic development is the civilian control over the military. There is no need to worry, the military is still under civilian control – the control is safely in the hands of President Saakashvili. How dangerous this situation can become in a country which does not have full control over its territory and Russia as its neighbour, is obvious.
One should not blame the international community on not recognizing these events. The Georgian President did fulfil his promises. He curbed corruption by bringing his corrupt political rivals behind bars. He also carried out necessary institutional reforms. Sadly, the Judiciary was so corrupt that it was simple a necessity to take control of it. Nevertheless, any accusation on pressuring the judges is only an invention by noisy NGOs.
Of course, President Saakashvili does not intend to take control over the government. The new amendment to the 1995 Constitution ought to prove this. The only reason why parliamentary and presidential elections are being held together in 2008 is to avoid any manipulation by Russia.
One could now think that the combination of parliamentary and residential elections might help the president’s party to win again since individual popularity of a politician is still much more important in Georgia than the general standing of his political party.
Now, two things come to my mind; first, when will the next amendment be? The President has not yet finished his first term and the 1995 constitutions has already been so often amended that is has almost nothing in common with its starting form. Second, call me a cynic, but I believe my grandmother when she said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The point of no return has not yet been reached and it is still too early to declare Georgia a lost cause. However, it cannot be said that things go the right way and it will be necessary to watch very careful the developments in Georgia.
I want to come back to the inventors of wine and a country where I tasted fruits which I have never seen before.