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Second round of Georgian elections to take place amid protests


Second round of Georgian elections to take place amid protests

Screen Shot 2020 11 20 at 12 51 02 PM
Photo: David Mdzinarishvili/TASS

The second round of Georgia’s parliamentary elections will be held today even as protesters continue to contest the results of the first round that was held in late October.

The ruling party, Georgian Dream, managed to secure enough seats to stay in power after the first round of elections and there are not enough seats in play in the second round to allow the opposition to overtake them. The government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the party in the polls. Nevertheless, the election protests are unlikely to end after the second round and it will likely require international observers to mediate a democratic solution.

Expect Georgia to continue its foreign policy balancing act after the election as Tbilisi attempts to appease Russia while moving towards full NATO membership. Russia’s attempts to maintain its influence in the former Soviet space has recently faced setbacks in other countries, most prominently in Moldova, which elected a pro-European president last week.

Polls in Georgia have shown ample support for EU and NATO membership, but the nation’s position on the Russian border is likely to inspire caution about moving towards the West. Even as other Eastern European countries (namely Moldova and Ukraine) embrace Euro-Atlanticism, Georgia is likely to inch forward slowly to avoid alienating Russia.

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