The government crisis that erupted in Georgia earlier in November was originally cast as a struggle over the country’s geopolitical orientation. But as time passes, it seems the real fulcrum of contention is connected with checks and balances on authority, and the potential influence of unaccountable public figures.
The political drama, which resulted in the abrupt sacking of the defense minister and the withdrawal of the Free Democrats from the governing coalition, has sharpened longstanding worries among many observers in Tbilisi that critical government decisions hinge on one man, the 58-year-old tycoon, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
“Ivanishvili is outside democratic control, outside institutional checks and balances, yet he is ultimately calling the shots, which puts Georgia in a vulnerable position both vis-à-vis democracy and foreign policy,” claimed Kornely Kakachia, a professor of political science at Tbilisi State University.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.