The 2012 elections can be regarded as one of the most important events in the political life of Georgia. More so than at any time during the country’s 20-year history of independence, these elections were distinguished by a high level of uncertainty regarding the final results, and fierce competition between the ruling party and its major opponents. Therefore, unlike previous elections, greater importance was given to the accuracy and strength of the action plans and pre-election programs presented by the parties. As a result, the majority of the political parties that qualified to participate managed to present competent and consistent programs that were more feasible and of better quality than in previous elections. However, the competency with which the election programs were produced was not absolute, since a major problem with the presented programs was their consistency and the likelihood that their election promises could and would be delivered. At the same time, this is not to say that the 2012 October elections were not distinguished by a significant increase in the quality of the programs presented by the political parties compared to previous elections.
The above-mentioned facts, as well as unprecedented interest in the election processes from the media, international organizations, and society as a whole, resulted in an increase in the quality of the pre-election programs and presented a need to assess them contextually. With the support of the East-West Management Institute’s (EWMI) Policy, Advocacy, and Civil Society Development in Georgia (G-PAC) program, and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a project was started in July 2012 to evaluate the party platforms in the social and economic context of Georgia. The following non-governmental organizations took part in the project: the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), ISET Political Institute (ISET-PI), Liberal Academy Tbilisi (LAT), and Transparency International - Georgia (TI Georgia). The aim of the project was to assess the social and economic programs of the following political parties participating in the 2012 elections: the New Rights Party, the United National Movement, Coalition Georgian Dream, the National-Democratic Party of Georgia, the Labor Party of Georgia, and the Christian Democratic Movement.
The following criteria were used to assess the parties’ programs: factual correctness, internal consistency, economic reasoning, feasibility, and their ideological/political placement. It should be mentioned that out of the given political parties, the Labor Party of Georgia was the only one that did not present a written program. At the same time, only two political parties, the New Rights Party and Coalition Georgian Dream, have presented their programs in a well-organized and well-formulated manner. The programs of other parties were both significantly less well organized, and smaller in size. The categories of education, employment, macroeconomic issues, healthcare, and agriculture were assessed.