available languages: english July 11, 2017

Polarisation has been considered to have important negative consequences for the consolidation of democracy as well as for the evolution of a country’s party system. Georgia, one of the few democratic countries re-emerging from the ashes of the Soviet Union, has suffered from this “disease” from the very moment it recovered its independence in 1991, if already not before that time.

The current discussion paper assesses the problem of political polarisation in Georgia, putting it in a comparative perspective. In particular, it constitutes an attempt to shed light on some of the essential questions regarding the possible consequences and causes of polarisation in new democracies: what are the effects – both short- and long-term – of polarisation? What is the role of institutions in polarised political environments? Are political elites to be blamed for increasing levels of socio-political polarisation? Can political parties contribute to promote political convergence and social understanding? Following a “most-different-systems-design”, the collection of cases surveyed here (i.e. Hungary, Poland, Spain and, of course, Georgia) exemplifies the contexts in which polarisation comes about, demonstrating the impact it has for the functioning of democracy as well as elucidating how it could be avoided.

Read the paper in English and Georgian.

The content of the discussion paper does not reflect the official opinion of the Democracy Reporting International. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the paper lies entirely with the author.

Cover photo: Nino Mandaria