A competitive parliamentary election race is taking shape in Georgia. As a result, the political process in the South Caucasus nation is diversifying – getting out of the capital and into the countryside.
With the unemployment rate estimated at over 30 percent (the official rate stands at 15.1 percent), Georgians’ interest in basic quality-of-life issues, such as job creation and better access to health care, eclipses concerns about whether the elections will be fair, according to a June survey by the National Democratic Institute, a Washington, DC-based non-governmental organization monitoring the 2012 vote.
Aware of that focus, Georgian Dream, the opposition alliance lead by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, has promised to pour a cool 1 billion lari ($600 million) into agriculture, the economic sector in which 55.6 percent of Georgia’s workforce is employed. Georgian Dream representatives also say they would make significant investments into education and healthcare.
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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.