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Security, Democracy and Development

In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region


Edited By Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes

Since the early 1990s, the southern Caucasus and its larger neighbourhood, the Black Sea region, have experienced deep and sometimes painful transformations, including bloody conflicts. They have also become an arena of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between great powers. This has attracted growing attention from social scientists. In this volume, authors from universities in Europe, the United States and the southern Caucasus focus on several of the most topical problems of the region, particularly how nascent states and societies grapple with the results of unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts and how they try to construct new civil societies from the cultural mosaic that they inherited from their Soviet past. How do elements of democracy and autocracy combine in the political regimes of the new states? Can the West have an effect on their internal development and, if so, how? How do the rich mineral resources of the Caspian region influence the development of the region’s economies and define the geopolitical standing of these countries?
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Cleavage Theory and the Electoral Geographies of Georgia



ABSTRACT: Georgia has held several important elections from the beginning of 2008, culminating in the fall of 2012 when an opposition political group defeated the ruling party. As competitive elections are relatively new to Georgia, a substantial amount of literature is dedicated to the problems of voting in that country. This chapter investigates how particular theories of voting, especially the cleavage model of Seymour M. Lipset and Stein Rokkan (1967), may be applied to the case of Georgia. The main argument is that political cleavages can be identified; however, their origins differ from those suggested by Lipset and Rokkan. It is argued that the political cleavages in Georgia are the products of the country’s recent historical experience – urbanization and ethnic alienation.

KEYWORDS: Georgia, elections, geography, cleavage model, democracy, Saakashvili

Unlike most western European countries, Georgia has a relatively short history of free and competitive elections. Little research has therefore been done in the field that would deal with the explanation of voting behaviour and, in particular, its spatial aspects. Cleavage theory, originally suggested by Seymour M. Lipset and Stein Rokkan (1967), cannot be completely applied to Georgian elections, as it is not relevant to this case. This chapter will show the existence of electoral cleavages other than those mentioned by Lipset and Rokkan. It will develop a theoretical model of voting behaviour in nascent democracies, examine the election results of the three national elections held in Georgia since 2008, and try to build a...

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