American Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, who has been to Georgia several times in recent months and held meetings with civil society, opposition and government representatives, claims that the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism is going on in Georgia. She believes that the government of Georgia is “increasingly moving towards autocracy”.
“One of the countries where there is an internal struggle between autocracy and democracy is Georgia, where it is clear that the population of Georgia wants to look towards the West, towards Europe. They want democracy. Senator Risch and I were there in 2012 to observe the elections when Georgian Dream came to power in the country. [Now] what we have seen is that the government of Georgia is increasingly moving towards autocracy,” says Senator Shaheen from the Democratic Party.
At the session of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she asked whether it is possible to send a long-term observation mission to Georgia for the 2024 parliamentary elections. During the session, American legislators listened to the head of USAID, Samantha Power.
“One of the defining opportunities will be the upcoming elections in 2024. We will play a critical role in supporting these elections and sending observers to the elections. Can you talk about how important this will be and whether USAID is thinking about sending a long-term observation mission to support Georgia?” asked Shaheen.
USAID head Samantha Power, who was present at the session, shared the spirit of the American senator, saying that the recent developments in Georgia are “extremely disturbing”.
“I don’t know yet what this program will look like, but I wholeheartedly agree with you that the attacks on civil society, some of the laws that have been registered recently are extremely disturbing. On the other hand, this retreat shows us the strength of civil society and citizens in Georgia to strengthen their own course or implement their own democratic aspirations. But I think we should be directing resources broadly towards elections, because this is the next real opportunity for citizens to make their voices heard. And I think that includes both short-term and long-term observation missions,” said the USAID chief.
The session, where the only question about Georgia was asked, lasted for more than two hours. At the meeting, issues of the American government’s budget and plans for 2024 were discussed.
The conversation at the hearing touched on the situation in Karabakh and the ongoing processes in Sudan. Among the main issues discussed were the actions of China and Russia in different countries of the world.