Jonathan Katz: It is Important That There is No Violence Ahead of the Runoffs
Anna Kalandadze of Voice of America’s Georgian Service in Washington talked to Jonathan Katz, Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States to discuss the latest Georgian presidential elections and the upcoming second round.
First round of Presidential elections was marred by numerous violations and violence. Still, international observers deemed it professionally administered and valid that raises bar for Georgian democracy in the future. What is your evaluation and what lies ahead to consolidate its democratic achievements, if any?
Yes, there were violations that were recorded by domestic and international observers, but elections showed that there is a strong ability for political parties to compete, although competition, at times, is not fair and not leveled based on a lack of independent media and on challenges of the use of official resources. Election is only one measure of Georgia’s democracy, it had several elections in a row that were deemed sufficient. But what Georgia needs to keep on track on its Euro-Atlantic integration, is to keep implementing reforms – judicial and other – that are required by the European Union and are going to be needed to take Georgia on a Euro-Atlantic path. Georgia as a young democracy, faces a lot of similar challenges as other younger democracies. It is important not only for Georgia to move forward but for the United States, the EU and NATO, to support that transition and integration. It is essential, Georgia needs to do it, but partners need to be there to support the country.