Electing the Future – Participation of civil society and youth in Georgian party politics
The recent change in electoral law has once again proven that Georgian politics is strongly following the democratisation process. 10 years since the launch of the Eastern Partnership (EaP), Georgia has moved ever-closer towards the European Union and its values. As part of the European Neighbourhood policy, the EaP has provided tangible tools for closer affiliation and further integration with European Institutions, most notably the Association Agreement (AA), Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), and visa-free travel.
While the electoral reform is believed to result in a fairer distribution of seats in the parliament, another important aspect remains party politics and structures, which has the potential to increase participation of civil society actors including youth. Political parties show little effort to encourage participation in their youth wings, from where only few party representatives have emerged. Georgian politicians usually enter parliament mid-career and rarely come from a party background, thus not having been involved in party politics before.
In our panel discussion, we want to take a closer look at the way party politics in Georgia work, which factors determine the advance of politicians within the party, and how this is perceived by citizens. Which instruments do civil society actors have to engage with parties, and how can these mechanisms be enhanced? What is the role of young people in party politics, and how can their voices help to diversify political discourse in the country?
We will discuss these and other questions with our distinguished guests on
Thursday, 3 September 2020 at 6:30pm
- Givi Silagadze – Junior Policy Analyst @ Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP)
- Khatia Kikalishvili LL.M. – Program Director Eastern Partnership @ Center for Liberal Modernity (LibMod)
- Paulina Fröhlich – Head of Programme Future of Democracy @ Das Progressive Zentrum
The panel will be preceded by a welcome and introductory remark from His Excellency Ambassador Levan Izoria of the Embassy of Georgia in Berlin.
His Excellency Ambassador Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth, Special Representative for the Eastern Partnership with the Federal Foreign Office, will provide additional remarks.
Moderator: Anna Kiknadze – Project Manager of the joint German-Georgian project #GEOYOUTH2020 @ Polis180
In our joint project #GEOYOUTH2020, Polis180 and the Georgian Institute of Politics seek to empower Georgia’s youth to make their voices heard during the 2020 parliamentary elections campaign. With a group of experienced youth trainers from Georgia and Germany, we have developed a workshop concept and are currently carrying out 10 youth summits all across Georgia, including representatives of minority groups such as youth from Azeri and Armenian communities. In a participatory process, we will produce a Youth Manifesto to be handed over to competing political parties ahead of the parliamentary elections, encouraging them to include youth perspectives in their programmes and campaigning.
Thus, the project brings together ‘traditional’ youth work with the grassroots approach of Polis180: participants actively shae this process every step of the way, take ownership and interact through digital tools. Together, they experience the power of political organising and engage in a democratic political process shaping the future of their country.
For more information, see our article on youth participation in Georgian party politics
In the name of #GEOYOUTH2020 Project team, we would like to express our gratitude towards Georgian Embassy in Federal Republic of Germany and especially His Excellency Ambassador Levan Izoria, for their strong support. The project is funded by the Federal Foreign Office in the framework of the programme “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia” and kindly supported by the Germany Embassy in Tbilisi. #civilsocietycooperation