The First 100 Days of the Georgian Dream Gov’t: A Reality Check

On February 22, the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) presented its latest report, titled ‘The First 100 Days of the Georgian Dream Government: A Reality Check’.

“Georgia’s 2016 parliamentary elections were assessed positively by a consensus of international observers. However, the results leave the country’s future uncertain. The ruling coalition Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia (GD) managed to win a constitutional majority, a powerful mandate allowing the party to amend the country’s constitution without support from opposition lawmakers. The next four years will therefore test the strength of the democratic checks and balances built into Georgia’s political system, as well as test GD itself, which now holds more power than at any time in its short history as a political party.’- the opening of the report reads.

Authored jointly by Kornely Kakachia, professor of Political Science at the Ivane Javakishvili Tbilisi State University and GIP director; Bidzina Lebanidze, research associate and reader at the University of Freiburg and a senior analyst at GIP; Joseph Larsen, analyst; and Mariam Grigalashvili, researcher, the report aims to analyze the promises made by GD during the election campaign, based on assessments provided by a number of experts of the content, controversy and feasibility of each, and assess to what extent those campaign promises were implemented during the first 100 days of GD’s new government. Focus areas are: Economic Development, Social Policy, Foreign & Security Policy, and Democracy & Human Rights.

In Economic Development, for example, in its first 100 days, GD aimed to introduce a Larization policy, introduce the Estonian corporate taxation model, increase excise tax, mobilize external funds for infrastructure and SME development, decrease the budget for agricultural projects, introduce new regulations for online gambling, and move forward with regards hydro power plant construction, the Free Trade Agreement with China, the National Strategy for Rural Development 2017-2020 and other infrastructure projects.

While it says “changes were immediately observable in several domestic policy domains, including social and economic policy and the area of democracy and human rights,” the Report makes clear that GD’s record is far from unblemished, going on to highlight a number of areas in which the party has failed to deliver.

The key findings of the report are stated below.

1. The universal healthcare system remains GD’s landmark reform, and the new government has pledged to increase investment. However, the system’s longterm fiscal sustainability remains an issue in light of modest economic growth. Higher growth rates are needed in order to ensure fiscal sustainability.

2. It is a welcome development that GD began implementation of lasting reforms in the sphere of defense. The reforms focus on fiscal sustainability and compliance with NATO standards. While necessary, the government should take care that these reforms are not be carried out at a cost of reduced defense capabilities or infringement of human and labor rights.

3. The introduction of the Estonian corporate tax model is a promising development expected to increase economic efficiency and productivity. However, the reform is projected to lead to a short-term decrease in corporate tax revenue, revenue which will have to be made up in other areas. The government has responded by increasing excise taxes.

4. The increase in excise taxes represents a major deviation from GD’s election program and raises questions about GD’s adherence to a market liberal policy orientation.

5. Arguably, the most controversial initiative is the Larization policy. The policy is ambitious and demonstrates the socially-oriented side of the government’s agenda, but due to the eligibility criteria, the majority of affected citizens may be unable to benefit.

6. Although the election program was rich with promises to reform the education system, the first 100 days left much to be desired in this area. The government has so far restricted itself to limited reforms, such as increasing salaries for certified school teachers. Major reforms that could drastically improve the quality of education have not been implemented.

7. GD’s dominant position in parliament is accompanied by weaker oversight of the legislative branch. Adopting a new constitution under such circumstances, which appears to be a priority of the new government, may further skew the system of checks and balances.

8. Recent developments in the media landscape - including the merger of three major television channels, controversial events surrounding the Georgian Public Broadcaster, and further bifurcation of the media landscape - may potentially endanger media pluralism.

9. The GD government has remained faithful to its pragmatic policy of accommodating Russian geopolitical interests while integrating with Euro-Atlantic structures. However, this balanced policy will become politically unsustainable if it fails to yield tangible results.

10. The government has continued its peaceful policy of confidence-building and reconciliation with the population living on the occupied territories. However, the government’s efforts are complicated by Russia’s intransigence and continued policy of creeping annexation. The international community has heretofore failed to effectively address the situation. GD still lacks a clear vision and coherent strategy for engaging with the population living on the occupied territories, with a view toward resolution of the conflicts.

The full report can be found at



The Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) is a Tbilisi-based non-profit, non-partisan, research and analysis organization founded in early 2011. GIP strives to strengthen the organizational backbone of democratic institutions and promote good governance and development through policy research and advocacy in Georgia. It also encourages public participation in civil society-building and developing democratic processes. Since December 2013 GIP is member of the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions.

Katie Ruth Davies

23 February 2017 21:44