I came across a relatively old article the other day, which stated that the economic performance, political history, ethnicity, culture and other related factors should be taken into account when dealing with the country in democratic transition as opposed to having an expectation that all transitional countries will go through one path. All this is not new nowadays and appears to be the common sense.
On the way to democratization most of the countries seem to be experiencing the internal conflict between the human rights issues and democracy and each due to the different factor. For example Egypt, where the democratic revolution brought different problems to human rights and may be seen a threat to civil society
In cases like the Egypt we are dealing with the conflict between liberalism and democracy put into work through the religious lens, which is probably most common form of it. The revolutionary leaders use the common sentiments to burst a fire of response to the social inequality which in the end leads to the ideologic state. For example removal of Shah in Iran, all kinds of folks participated in protests after seeing the evils of shahs regime, this in turn was used to form the religious state which maybe was undesired by many who just protested Shah’s aggressive acts. Does this suggest that the west should only support liberal-democratic revolutions as opposed to any kind of democratic revolutions?
I believe the answer is no. Activities like protests gradually form the demos through showing the importance of popular support to those in power. The demands of the demos as such can not include violence or human rights violation. the uprisings happen because people participating in protest feel that some kind of rights they have, are or can be violated by current regime. Further, the revolution sets the precedent that people can install the new government anytime they wish which in turn promotes centrism, the governments are bound not to make decisions that go too far or don’t seem to attract much popular support.
Every revolution has it’s reasons behind it, the message that the people are trying to deliver. The government that does not follow the message is more likely to be replaced in the near future. That is exactly what has happenned to Victor Yushchenko, whose popular support went down to 5 percent in less than four years after the Orange Revolution. This means that revolutions happen out of the common necessity. It’s a request to change specific things in the country, just like the normal elections.
Even though, the way formation of demos and the precedent of popular power affects the democratization process depends on other variables specific for the country, it is always good to see that autocratic regimes are replaced with the governments that people have chosen, whatever their nature is, even if they are autocratic themselves. From the moment the revolution has ended starts the new era where popular support matters more than it did and at that point an opportunity opens for a country to solve its problems.
EU enlargement is usually not a much loved concept, especially now in “the age of austerity” when not only the future, but also the present seems to be quite uncertain. For western European taxpayers enlargement often means the possibility of more emigrants entering their countries and more spending on implementation of various EU policies and so on.
On the bright side process of the neighborhood countries getting closer to EU helps promote democracy, establish the rule of law and consequently social justice. I will now look on this process from the Georgian perspective. That’s where I am from and where I happen to be now on the Easter holiday.
Surveys show that Georgians have a very positive attitude towards the EU. You don’t need a questionnaires to see that the EU is at the center of Georgian policy making. It works on two levels. Firstly EU is a political actor and financial contributor. Amount of financial contributions as well as the success of the government’s foreign policy depends on how the government implements the advice and recommendations from EU and Europe related bodies like Venice Commission. Secondly, it seems (at least to me) that the Europeanisation discourse, to some extent, forms an opinion of Georgian electorate. Georgians are stuck between the dark past (literally, no electricity and infrastructure) associated with Russia and Soviet Union and the prospect of future which lies in Europe. If someone is having views different from the traditional ones is often referred to as the “European” and the recent history of Georgia is a story of more and more people becoming “European”.
As EU is a political actor it has the ways of influencing Georgian politics . All the recent democratic changes, arguably successful fight against the corruption, growth of accountability and the implementation of other reforms was part of the Europeanization of Georgia which happens on both political as well as social levels.
Recent developments also showed how EU politics is mirrored in the Georgian parliament. PM’s Letter to EPP and the answer of the EPP with the conditional roadmap and the post by EPP twitter account which united three hashtags #Ivanishvili #alde and #fail, represents a good illustration of how close EU has become to Georgia. it seems as if the Georgian parliament now mirrors the European Parliament. (Saakashvili is the member of EPP and the two parties of the GD coalition – Republicans and The free democrats are the part of ALDE.)
Further, the only bipartisan resolution adopted by parliament so far contains this clause:
“Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures, joining the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization represents country’s foreign policy priority. Unconditional establishment of democratic values and principles of the international law represents the major precondition for successful implementation of this strategic course;”
I can conclude that the EU is now the most important actor in Georgian politics. However if Eu wants to remain as an important actor it should stay positive in the eyes of kind of electorate which is charmed by the prospect of being closer to EU. Georgians might be disappointed if their country doesn’t get a well deserved association agreement and deep and comprehensive FTA.
I decided to go back to blogging. I’ll give a shot to the several posts about the international politics, party politics and the law and then see how it goes