The Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) was created for analyzing the quality of democracy in developing countries. The author of this project is the Bertelsmann Foundation - a large, non-profit organization based in Germany, which was founded in 1977 to strengthen the public engagement in political, cultural, and economic activities. The Foundation is carrying out various projects aimed at supporting citizen engagement, sustainable development, good governance, and democracy around the world.
Countries have been regularly evaluated through the Transformation Index since 2004. The index analyzes the political transformation, the economic transformation and the governance in different countries as a result of comparing democracy and a market economy around the world.
The BTI is the only index that ensures international comparability, measures governance performance, and presents an analysis of political governance in countries towards transition. In 2020, 137 countries were assessed by this Index.
Since Georgia fits the category of developing countries, it was also assessed. Thus, it is interesting how the transformation process is going in the country according to the 2020 Index. Georgia was assessed in three directions, however, the aim of this paper is to analyze the quality of democracy only.
The democracy status is measured by five criteria: stateness, political participation, rule of law, political and social integration, and stability of democratic institutions. We try to present how effectively the transformation towards democracy in Georgia has taken place by comparing the assessment of democracy status criteria in 2020 with previous years.
- The democracy status of Georgia decreased by 0.2 points in 2020 compared to 2018.
- In 2020, Georgia scored the lowest in the component of Political and Social Integration (5 points) and the highest - in Political Participation (8.3 points).
- The ranking of Georgia worsened in 3 out of 5 criteria of democracy status, the assessment has not changed in 2 criteria.
- In the criterion of Stateness, the ranking has not changed in 2020 compared to 2018.
- In the criterion of Political Participation, the ranking of Georgia worsened by 0.2 points in 2020 compared to 2018.
- In the criterion of Rule of Law, the ranking worsened by 0.2 points in 2020 compared to 2018.
- In the criterion of Stability of Democratic Institutions, Georgia scored 0.5 points less in 2020 compared to 2018.
- In the criterion of Political and Social Integration, the ranking has not changed in 2020 compared to 2018.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index analyzes and evaluates whether and how developing countries and countries in transition are steering social change toward democracy and a market economy.
Experts assess the extent to which 17 criteria developed through BTI have been met for each country. Finally, the results are aggregated into two indices: The Status Index and Governance Index. The Status Index assesses democracy and a social market economy status in the country, whereas the Governance Index evaluates the quality of political leadership. The BTI is published every two years. The report analyzes the development processes in Georgia from 1st February 2017 to 31st January 2019.
As mentioned above, this paper analyzes only the state of political transformation that is measured by five criteria, which are derived from assessments made in response to 18 questions. Each criterion and its indicators are scored from 1 to 10. Stateness status is examined through questions dealing with the state’s monopoly on the use of force and basic administrative structures. The index evaluates the status of rule of law, including the separation of powers and the prosecution of office abuse. It also assesses the quality of representation and the approvals of democratic norms and procedures.
The democracy status of Georgia decreased by 0.2 points in 2020 compared to 2018. According to transformation index, Georgia scored the lowest in 2012 in this regard.
In 2020, Georgia scored the lowest in the component of Political and Social Integration (5 points), whereas the country got the highest score in Political Participation (8.3 points).
The Stateness score (6.5 points) has not changed in 2020 compared to 2018. Georgia scored the highest in 2016 in this regard.
The Political Participation ranking worsened by 0.2 points (8.3 points) in 2020 compared to 2018. Georgia scored the highest (8.5 points) in 2016 and 2018 in this regard.
For Political Participation, the report draws attention to the presidential and municipal elections held in 2017-2018. According to the report, the ruling party did not take serious action to achieve a more pluralistic political environment. This section of the report also emphasizes the need to achieve editorial independence of the media.
The Rule of Law ranking worsened by 0.2 points (6.2. points) in 2020 compared to 2018. In this regard, Georgia scored the highest in 2016 and 2018 (6.5 points).
With regard to the Rule of Law, the report particularly stresses the serious challenges related to the judicial independence, the questions concerning the investigation of high-level corruption, and the need to depoliticize the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Stability of Democratic Institutions ranking worsened by 0.5 points (7 points) in 2020 compared to 2018. In this regard, Georgia scored the highest in 2018 (7.5 points).
The report, amongst others, draws attention to “informal governance” issues.
The Political and Social Integration ranking has not changed in 2020 compared to 2018. In this regard, Georgia scored the highest in 2016 (5.3 points).
The report draws attention to a polarized political environment that has a negative impact on the democratic processes in the country. It also talks about weak democratic traditions due to a lack of relevant political culture in Georgia.
Unfortunately, according to the Bertelsmann Transformation Index, the quality of democracy in Georgia worsened in several directions in 2020 compared to 2018.
As for the Rule of Law, the report particularly stresses the serious challenges related to judicial independence, the questions concerning the investigation of high-level corruption, and the need to depoliticize the Prosecutor’s Office. The report also talks about the polarized political environment and weak democratic traditions due to a lack of relevant political culture in Georgia.
We hope that the ongoing decline will halt, and Georgia will start working on eliminating the identified challenges, which will improve the quality of democracy in the country.
This material has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Responsibility for the content rests entirely with the creator. Sida does not necessarily share the expressed views and interpretations.
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