Most signs suggest a strengthening of democratic institutions in Georgia, but it still remains among “partly free” countries, according to an annual report by the U.S.-based rights watchdog Freedom House.
Freedom in the World 2014, a country-by-country report on global political rights and civil liberties, covers developments of 2013.
Each country or territory is given a status “free”, “partly free” or “not free” based on points in political rights and civil liberties categories on a scale from 1 to 7 with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least free.
Georgia’s rating in both political rights and civil liberties categories remained unchanged at 3 and the country remains among “electoral democracies”; Freedom House removed Georgia from this category in its 2009 report for parliamentary and snap presidential elections in 2008, but assigned “electoral democracy” status back to Georgia in its 2013 report after the October, 2012 parliamentary elections.
Freedom House said Georgia was “one of the few bright spots” in 2013 in Eurasia – the region in which the organization includes former Soviet state except of the Baltic States. The group noted “open and less polarized campaign environment and a free and fair presidential election in October” 2013.
“While there are still concerns about selective prosecutions of officials from former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s government, most signs suggest a strengthening of democratic institutions by the Georgian Dream government over the past year,” the Freedom House said.
The report by Freedom House ranks breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia under the category of “disputed territories.”
Like in previous reports, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are ranked as “partly free” and “not free”, respectively. In political rights category Abkhazia has 4 points and in civil liberties – 5; South Ossetia has 7 points in political rights category and 6 in civil liberties.