Despite Georgia’s turbulent political past, the country has made significant democratic progress. It has made commendable efforts to curb corruption and increase the effectiveness of the bureaucracy. Plurality and political competition, as well as the peaceful change of government in 2012 and the well-organized, free elections in October 2016 provide solid foundations for future progress.
However, the country still faces challenges in ensuring inclusive political participation as well as preventing informal influences and financial interests from dominating the political scene. Its history of conflicts and high levels of political polarization pose a significant challenge to democratic processes, particularly elections. This was seen in the antagonism and incidents of violence in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of October 2016. Again, in May 2016, there were reported incidents of physical attacks between the supporters and activists of the main parties in Kortskheli and infringements of the private lives of political leaders.
These events motivated many party leaders to develop a Code of Conduct to prevent further violence during the pre-electoral period. On 22 June 2016, parliament adopted the CoC for political parties, ‘On the Protection of the Ethics Rules during the Elections’ initiated by seven parliamentary factions. The CoC refers to existing norms in domestic legislation (for example The Electoral Law of Georgia) as well as international declarations and recommendations.