2024 Is a Year of Opportunity for Georgia

February 28, 2024 Topic: Politics Region: Eurasia Tags: GeorgiaGeorgian DreamRussiaEuropean UnionNATO

2024 Is a Year of Opportunity for Georgia

Georgia’s citizens must seize the rare opportunity to change their government before it’s too late.


This year, dozens of places worldwide will be hosting elections, including Georgia. In October, Georgian citizens will vote in their parliamentary elections to elect new representatives. The stakes could not be higher.

Since 2012, the ruling Georgian Dream party has ruled the country. In 2023 alone, parliamentarians from this group made several questionable decisions, including increasing surveillance nationwide, focusing specifically on opposition organizations, and targeting political opponents, falsely accusing them of organizing a coup against the government. Although the effort failed, Georgian Dream also attempted to ostracize various Georgian organizations by declaring them foreign agents. Even more concerning is that the ruling party has slowly distanced itself from Western institutions while trying to mend relations with Russia. Russia lifted the flight ban from Georgia, easing travel restrictions for Georgian nationals visiting Russia. This is all happening while the Russian Federation continues to illegally occupy territory in northern Georgia.


The international community has also taken notice of Georgian Dream’s policies and actions. According to various institutions, the Georgian government has been backsliding in its anticorruption efforts. This was most apparent in the latest corruption perceptions index published by Transparency International. The system, which measures the perception of corruption in the public sector of countries across the globe, determined that democratization efforts in Georgia are scaling back.

The Georgian people have had enough. According to a survey by the International Republican Institute, only 25 percent of participants favor Georgian Dream, with most Georgians opposing the current ruling party, wanting their government to strengthen ties with Europe, not Russia. According to another International Republican Institute survey, 73 percent stated they want Georgia to join the EU, and 55 percent of that percentage support cutting trade relations with Russia.

Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili and the Georgian opposition also support this path. In December 2023, the president joined Georgian citizens in a march calling for Georgia to join the EU. Additionally, Georgian opposition leaders have stated they will work hard to integrate Georgia with the West if elected.

This is a critical time for Georgia’s potential future as the European Union recently reviewed Georgia’s progress on anticorruption reforms and granted it a candidate status. However, to be considered for full membership, Georgia needs to address and resolve twelve recommendations outlined by the EU. These additional reforms include addressing political polarization within the country, eliminating the excessive influence of the oligarchs, promoting gender equality, protecting human rights, strengthening the Georgian Anticorruption Agency, implementing a transparent judicial system, guaranteeing free and independent media, and fighting corruption and crime.

However, these reform efforts are in jeopardy. Although the president, opposition parties, and citizens want to move forward on European integration, Georgian Dream is sabotaging its country’s efforts by withdrawing its observer membership status with the Party of European Socialists and targeting Georgian politicians supporting EU membership.

If Georgian Dream remains in power, the country’s anticorruption efforts will continue to decline. The Georgian government has failed to address recommendations set forth by the EU to reform its government, leading to several protests against Georgian Dream across the country. Given this history, it is likely that Georgia will continue to fail in these anticorruption efforts, which will only further distance the country from Europe.

A lot is at stake for Georgians in the 2024 parliamentarian elections. Should Georgian Dream maintain its status, it will lead to further scandals and corruption issues within the country. However, if Georgian Dream is ousted from power, it will create opportunities for Georgian citizens. A new governing body would help eliminate corruption nationwide, strengthening institutions and aligning them with European standards. A new government would promote transparency, protect fundamental human rights, and promote equality. More importantly, it would lead to a proper and true democracy in Georgia. The possibilities for success and prosperity in Georgia are endless. But its citizens must choose to seize them. Such an opportunity may not present itself again.

Mark Temnycky is an accredited freelance journalist covering Eurasian affairs and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He can be found on X @MTemnycky.

Image: Shutterstock.com.