The parliamentary election in Georgia this week has been very surprising, for several reasons. I believe this could be the first time that the opposition “officially” beats the ruling party (by actual vote count and not simply by exit poll results). That would be a tremendous step forward for a country where, at least in the past, those in power could fix things to assure themselves a victory, and the people could do little about it. The final results aren’t in yet, but this could be the first time for the country to have a transition of power that happens through elections, and not by means of a coup, civil war, or mass protest. The people need and deserve that kind of precedent.
I was also surprised that President Mikheil Saakashvili acknowledged that his ruling party would now become the opposition–before all the votes were even counted.
Going from the time I’ve spent living there and all of the political conversations I’ve had with Georgians, such “gentlemanly” behavior is not typical for their country’s politics. (more…)