Close this search box.

Discussion Summary – Assessment of the Pre-Election Environment

(September 30, 2021)


Tbilisi, Georgia 14 November 2020 Protest on Bidzina Ivanizhili Calls for Fair Elections on Rostavel i Street, Georgia. Photo: samurkas.


The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation hosted a roundtable discussion to assess the pre-election environment in Georgia a few days prior to polling day, scheduled for October 2, 2021. The upcoming local elections have attracted more attention than any other previous municipal election ever has. There is a broad consensus that these elections will serve as a litmus test for Georgia’s democratic progress and future Euro-Atlantic orientation, and will greatly determine whether the authoritarian tendencies will be strengthened or muted.

The political opposition frames these elections as a referendum, determining the prospect of early parliamentary elections. On the other hand, the ruling party maintains that it will win far more than necessary to celebrate its ultimate victory. The notion of the referendum comes from the EU-negotiated agreement between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the political opposition following the political crisis last spring. According to the agreement, the ruling party must clear 43 percent of the vote in order to avoid early national parliamentary elections. Although the Georgian Dream has since reneged on the agreement, it remains in force for the other signatories. Thus, opposition parties have capitalized on this promise and have developed their strategy by framing the local elections as a referendum.

The vague prospect of early parliamentary elections has tightened the political race and deepened persisting political polarization, which has greatly impacted the pre-election environment. Participants agree that the electoral campaign has rarely been issue-based in Georgia, but this time electoral discourse is extraordinarily and notably deprived of meaningful debate on the issues that concern Georgian society, especially in the regions. Experts also underline that despite pluralism, the

The summary of the roundtable discussion can also be downloaded here

Subscribe to our

Sign up for our monthly newsletter
and receive the latest EPDE news

Subscribe to our

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and receive the latest EPDE news

We use cookies to optimize our website and our service. Manage your cookie settings here.