Elections in Georgia
Democracy and economic development
The following texts were submitted for inclusion in the official
report by members who were present in the Chamber but were prevented by lack of time from
Elections in Georgia
Mr AKHVLEDIENI (Georgia). After the last parliamentary
elections in Georgia, experts, observers and a lot of people are asking themselves what
the country has as a main result of the elections. I am glad to repeat that the most
important conclusion is that today's Georgia has quite a stable and high level of
democracy. That is a kind of key test of the democratic audit of a civil society.
I hope that soon it will be possible to have free elections and the
same level of democracy in the whole country. The process of democracy could be started in
the Abkhazia, Adjaria and Tskhinvali regions. Your support in this regard will be very
useful and important, as always.
Democracy and economic development
Mr MAMED-KULIYEV (Special Guest from Azerbaijan).
Let me share with you some considerations from my country's perspective to complement this
comprehensive and thought-inspiring report.
First, on the interrelationship between democracy and economic
development, I would like to emphasise that we strongly believe that a sound economic
basis is the prerequisite for widening and deepening democratic reforms and that the state
should play a very important role at an early stage.
The dissolution of the USSR brought into existence a vast new group of
countries with rich natural potential, but which were very fragile in terms of economic
and social development. All of them currently experience deep crises in all spheres of
social life and first of all in the economy, while attempting to introduce market-oriented
reforms. The way in which these countries will develop will affect the world economy.
Historically, most of the transitional societies jumped from monarchies
into communism, knowing nothing but totalitarian rule. Many of the so-called newly
independent states either never experienced or had short experience of it and they do not
have traditions of statehood in its true sense. For them, unprecedented social
transformation should go in parallel with building up statehood and developing good
governance practices. The introduction of new rules of social behaviour based on
democratic principles should be supported and developed against the background of a social
mindset, or social mentality. The transformation of societies and individuals is perhaps
the most complex process of all and may take at least one generation to achieve.
Would democratic principles be rightly understood and used in such
societies, without proper mechanisms for ensuring and securing their implementation? By
contrast with the developed industrialised democracies, where democratic values not only
are embedded in people's minds, but, speaking figuratively, are in the blood of the
nations, societies in transitional countries are still not immune from unpredictable
social and political upheavals. Recent experiences in these countries showed once again
that the massive transformation of the societies is a much longer and more painful
historical process than was expected.
Secondly, and taking those factors into consideration, external factors
are crucial to the development of these countries. It is a big advantage to those
countries that the world is different today. Assistance and co-operation by industrialised
democracies and international institutions, creating good opportunities to shorten the
span of national evolution, will help to integrate them in the international democratic
community. As was rightly mentioned in the report, the success of the Baltic states was
made possible, to a significant extent, by their geographical proximity to Europe and
massive support from its countries.
A favourable and supportive external environment is critical to more
efficient utilisation of scarce or limited internal resources, particularly in small
countries such as Azerbaijan, which remains very vulnerable to what is happening beyond
Azerbaijan embarked on the track of democratic reforms relatively late
and in very complicated conditions because of the war imposed by neighbouring Armenia on
Nagorno-Karabakh. A fifth of its territories are under occupation and millions of people
have become refugees or displaced in this turbulent regional conflict.
Because of close co-operation and assistance by the international
community, we have managed to achieve some significant results in our economic and
political developments. Azerbaijan is closely co-operating with the international
community particularly with such institutions as the IMF, WB, EBRD. As a result, sound
financial and macroeconomic conditions have enabled us to withstand the impact of the
recent international financial crisis and provide a better platform for further
development. In just five years Azerbaijan managed to attract over US$ 6 billion of
foreign direct investments, with billions committed for coming years. Azerbaijan has
signed a partnership and co-operation agreement with the EU and engaged in such global
projects as TRACECA and INOGATE. The country is on the eve of membership of Council of
Europe and is gradually upgrading its legislation and human rights in compliance with
Council of Europe standards.
However, the Nagorno-Karabaka conflict continues to hamper not only
progress in Azerbaijan, but development in the south Caucasus and Caspian basin.
Azerbaijan has a key role to play in the development of this vast area. Unfortunately, the
international community has so far proved to be inefficient in ensuring implementation of
agreements or in enforcing its principles and resolutions. We completely agree with the
provisions in the report suggesting that the international community should react more
rigorously to deviations by members of international community from democratic principles
and norms. Once again, we urge international institutions to use the powerful tools in
their possession to influence the behaviour of some international actors to bring them
into compliance with internationally accepted codes of conduct based on democratic
Mr SAGLAM (Turkey). The issue of non-formal
education has growing importance in our modern societies, in terms of youth and unemployed
elderly persons. I believe that the result of our discussions today will greatly
contribute to the debate on this sensitive issue. In this respect, I would like to express
my appreciation for the work done by our rapporteur,
I believe in the necessity to support non-formal education activities
in our countries as one of the means to combat social exclusion. I share the opinion of
our rapporteur according to which, in an era of rapid technological, social and economic
change, the formal education systems have to be reinforced by non-formal education. I also
support the development of these systems insofar as they offer a second chance to young
people, permitting them to acquire professional skills, abilities and the dispositions
required. On the other hand, I think that one of the most important obstacle to non-formal
education is the fact that its importance is not properly recognised and accepted by
society. Therefore, every organisation, governmental or non-governmental, must emphasise
this aspect and give support with every possible means.
Let me underline the fact that I find the comparative analysis made by
our rapporteur very useful. In fact, this analysis provides us with useful information on
the experience of some Council of Europe member states in the field of non-formal
education. The procedures which they adopted and their approach to the issue are of great
interest to us. In fact, we have to draw lessons from these individual experiences and
adapt them to our own national systems.
The positive effect of non-formal education on social coherence has to
be considered. As such, it should be included in the programme of activities of
organisations in the youth sector, non-governmental organisations and voluntary
organisations, as well as in the social and economic field.
Thank you for your attention.