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Georgia’s new parliament to hold its first session

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Georgia’s new parliament to hold its first session

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Photo: Thiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock

Georgia’s newly elected parliament will hold its first session today.

Though the ruling Georgian Dream party declared victory in the late October elections, the party has received criticism in recent years for increasingly pro-Russian policies. International observers deemed the elections competitive but expressed concerns over aspects of the electoral process. Protests ensued, with demonstrators claiming that Georgian Dream employed voter intimidation tactics. Members of the United National Movement, Georgia’s largest opposition party, maintain that the election was fraudulent and have vowed, alongside other opposition parties, to boycott parliament.

Today’s session will likely occur without opposition politicians in attendance, as four rounds of internationally-mediated talks between the government and the opposition have failed since October. However, the front presented by the opposition in boycotting the new parliament is likely eroding, with individual opposition leaders suggesting they would take up their seats if the government conceded to electoral reforms.

In the medium-term, expect Georgian Dream to continue efforts to balance Georgia’s foreign policy between political and defence arrangements with the US and the EU and economic ties to Russia. Additionally, expect the government to participate in US and NATO-funded combat-readiness programs, whilst, in light of COVID-19-initiated economic downturns, utilising a controversial yet lucrative Russian export market.

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Photo: Chinese Foreign Ministry

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