Pre-Electoral Georgia

The taste of representative democracy and the flavor of free media are within the reach of this country, not by inches but by miles. As a matter of fact, those tastes and flavors are already here, and their effect has aggressively told not only of the nation’s political life in general but on the overexcited political wannabes’ and their future voters’ personal living too. Suffice it to note that it has taken us only thirty years to learn how to campaign in a free and fair election environment, devoid of any violence, threats or pressure.

Like in any other democracy, our election campaigns are as noisy and boisterous as they can possibly be, based on the absolutely transparent dissemination of campaign materials and circulation of electoral information, freely available on any possible means of mass communication. Not all is good though! The polling style for instance, which is designed to measure voter support for participating parties and running candidates. And this has a solid reason behind it, worthy of consideration: the Pre-electoral situation in the land is extremely polarized and the media is polarized accordingly. And the Georgian media suffers no sense of shame or embarrassment for having lost the feeling of objectivity, fiercely supporting either the government or its opposition. Therefore, the results of their polls differ so radically that regular TV viewers usually find themselves at a loss, not having the slightest chance to know where the truth is lurking.

There is another side of the electoral process that makes it ugly to look at, and that is the language of hatred, practiced and perpetuated in our polemical atmosphere. The Georgian political beasts are used to decimating each other with unbridled cynicism and vituperative vocabulary as if they want to turn their words into lethal weapons at every chance in order to overpower their opponent.

One of the most curious electoral details is that nobody likes to talk about the origin of the funds that are being spent on campaigns, and nobody knows why the pecuniary issues are hushed up in season. Concerning the electoral code itself, it still leaves a lot to be desired, although it has been amended numerous times in the last several decades. It is universally known that the electoral legislation is one of the most important components of any nation’s law system, which includes the essence and significance as well as the types, forms and methods of campaigning, and can very well determine the level of electoral agitation and the outcome thereof. Regretfully, we are not yet where we need to be in that particular respect because the founding documents of this democracy are always going through certain improvements, but they still need to be worked on with even stronger deliberation. That’s where our national sovereignty, statehood, rule of law, human rights and state of reforms are at this stage of our development!

One of the most characteristic features of healthy pre-electoral moods and attitudes in today’s Georgia is that nobody, not even the smartest politicians or the shrewdest political analysts here are capable of making any reliable predictions at this moment. They are not even trying to make any audacious forecasts in fear of miscalculating the coming-up parliamentary election outcome, thus saving their professional face. The only players who are prepared to show their confidence in the victory are those who have been chosen by their respective parties to run for office. Their rhetoric usually sounds self-assured with some streak of hesitation in their voice, packed with incredible promises, but this is all extremely trivial, and as old as hills on top of everything: promises, pledges, emotions, assurances, words and, definitely the wolves in a sheep’s clothing.

And this will not change in a very long time to come because democracy has already offered its utmost to humankind. The exhaustion of its Greatest Good is obvious, but the attempts to make the best out of it are still vibrant. The bottom-line of the entire game is to get the messages out and win the voter support by encouraging them to turn out without much shilly-shallying, donating their valuable votes for the political crème de la crème of the nation. In this process, the ability to publicize a political platform is not everything though. The electorate cares more about the integrity of those who want to lead the country. And this kind of elevated attitude is dictated by the enhanced political culture of our people.    

Op-Ed by Nugzar B. Ruhadze

05 August 2020 18:49