Georgia remains among “partly free” countries, but it has been downgraded to non-electoral democracy, according to an annual report by the U.S.-based rights group, Freedom House.
“Georgia declined due in part to growing authoritarian tendencies in the governing style of President Mikheil Saakashvili,” the group’s latest Freedom in the World report released on January 12, reads.
“Georgia received a downward trend arrow due to flaws in the presidential and parliamentary election processes, including extensive reports of intimidation and the use of state administrative resources, which resulted in a markedly unequal playing field in favor of the ruling United National Movement party.”
Along with Georgia, the Central African Republic, Mauritania, and Venezuela have also been disqualified from the electoral democracy list.
“The decline of these countries is significant given their regional importance and the fact that two, Mauritania and Georgia, were previously hailed as new additions to the democratic world,” the report says. “Georgia was the site of the first in the recent spate of color revolutions and represented one of the few bright spots in the former Soviet Union; its erratic course, including a state of emergency in 2007 and war with Russia in August, ranks among the more disturbing developments of the past two years.”
Freedom House ranked in its report for the first time breakaway South Ossetia under the category of “disputed territories” and described it as “not free” and listed it “among the world’s most repressive regimes.”
Unlike South Ossetia, Georgia’s another breakaway region of Abkhazia has been described by the report as “partly free.”