I am not going to weigh in on the Russia-Georgia war, partly because it is well outside my areas of professional competence, partly because it is just depressing, and partly because I have seen the sort of comments other blogs are getting1 since this simmering conflict broke into the world’s headlines on (not coincidentally) the day the Olympics2 started.
However, just before the fighting erupted, I received, via a Google news alert, the following item about the aftermath of the (partial) opposition boycott of Georgia’s recent parliamentary elections. It is interesting inasmuch as it provides some insights into the domestic political situation facing the Georgian government in recent months. It also notes challenges parties might face in coordinated action (including election boycotts) in electoral systems that are at least partly nominal (such as Georgia’s MMM system), as well as the problems multiple (small) opposition parties have coordinating with one another:
Two MP candidates from two separate opposition parities have said they will join the new parliament, despite their respective partiesâ€™ announcement in favor of boycott.
Roman Marsagishvili, who won a majoritarian MP contest in the Kazbegi single-mandate constituency under the Republican Party ticket, said he would join the new parliament. â€œI am a majoritarian MP and I will defend the interests of the [Kazbegi] constituency. I am not interested in anything else. I am interested in the interests of people of my constituency, who elected me,â€ he told Rustavi 2 TV on May 24.
Although the Republican Party has failed to clear 5% threshold to endorse [elect?] its MP candidates under the party-list system, two of its majoritarian MP candidates won the elections â€“ another in Tsageri single-mandate constituency. The Republican Party leaders have said they would welcome decision by those opposition parties, which have cleared 5% threshold, to boycott the new parliament.
Once popular singer and songwriter, Nugzar Ergemlidze, who is number four in the Labor Partyâ€™s list of MP candidates and who has never been engaged in any political activities before, also said on May 24 that he did not agree with boycott, although his party leader, Shalva Natelashvili, said on May 23 that he would join the nine-party opposition blocâ€™s decision not to enter in the new parliament.
The third group, the Christian-Democratic Party, which has also cleared the 5% threshold, has yet to announce its final decision. However, the party leader, Giorgi Targamadze, has already suggested that his party would not favor the boycott.