Georgia’s “Freedom Barometer”

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation annually publishes a list of “Freedom Barometers” for different countries around the world. The research summarizes the indicators of countries in regard to the rule of law and politics, the freedom of speech, and free trade criteria.

This year, Georgia’s points and overall ranking decreased, the total coming to only 64.1 points.

With this number of points, Georgia is in the 28th position among a list of 45 countries.

According to the “Freedom Barometer,” Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland hold the leading positions. Tajikistan is the last country on the list. It should be noted that Georgia is ahead of all its neighboring countries, including as Armenia – 37th position, Azerbaijan – 43th position, Turkey – 42nd position and Russia – 44th position.

In the category of political freedom, Georgia’s ranking position was lowered and the country only reached the 35th position. In the report it is emphasized that last year in Georgia administrative resources were used during the elections. It was also during last year’s elections that, similar to the previous election years, political forces tried to pressure the population and used their resources inappropriately.

“Political decisions in the country massively depend on the opinion of the former Prime Minister of Georgia. Businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, who held the post of PM but after the strengthening of the party resigned. Regardless, his influence on the decisions remains significant,” states the report.

In the category of the rule of law, Georgia’s ranking point also decreased by 1.4 points. As the report says, during the last couple of years Georgia has been improved in this regard, however, in 2018 this tendency once again changed but this time for the worst. The report lists several occasions to prove its point, for instance: the fact of kidnapping the Azeri journalist from Georgia, as well as the fact of unfair politic relations towards foreign companies in Georgia. The report also covers the cases of Machalikashvili and Saralidze. At the same time, it underlines the fact that the law reforms that took place in 2017 were critically received by both the Venice Commission and the European Union. The most critically judged here are the prosecutors, who, according to the Freedom House report, have only 13% popular support from the entire population of Georgia.

As it has been covered in similar reports, the corruption issue is also addressed in the Friedrich Naumann research. It states that in Georgia so-called “Elite Corruption” is still an active problem.

“In the elites we meet nepotism. The laws which are directed towards the abolition of the conflicts of interests usually fail to gain success,”states the report.

In the category of the freedom of business, Georgia’s points have increased in comparison to last year. As we read in the report, in this regard the country has carried out many significant reforms but the problem continues to be the rule of law even though low-level corruption in the country has mainly been abolished.

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