Zurab Kharatishvili Election Program
Development

Development is what our country needs, but what is development? How to define if it develops? Distinct guides are needed, priorities, targets and so called intermediate benchmark, to know exactly where we are going and at what level we are.

Our strategic goal is to become part of so called post-industrial world. It’s also called golden billion. This includes countries that have already passed the stage of industrial development, and are on qualitatively higher level now. These are European countries, USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. To get into this prestigious club we have to use all possibilities, including NATO and EU membership, a free trade agreement with the United States and Europe, involvement in global economic, scientific, military, and political processes, and so on.

Why West?

Relations with the West in not only protection from enemies, also includes other important issues and it belongs to the sphere of the values.

There are many supporters and opponents of Western orientation in Georgia, they have a variety of arguments, but I have never met a man who didn’t want democracy, civil society, freedom of speech and freedom of entrepreneurship. The west, it is the values and institutions. All this are in the process of establishment here and we need support to complete this process. Where to find a supporter, an ally for democracy, civil society, freedom of speech and freedom of entrepreneurship? In Russia, China or Iran? I think it is clear that the West is such an ally.
There also is one important factor - the arrangement of the state and construction of state institutions. In the early 90s we gained independence, but we found that we did not have the knowledge required for the creation of state institutions. Because of this we endured many misfortunes, and again were rescued by our Western friends. Their support mainly was in the construction of state institutions. The knowledge was gained by the support of the West, and this process is still continuing. We vitally need Western knowledge, technology, university education, market, security and so on. Russia offers negotiating with the West through them. Why? We don’t live in the nineteenth century anymore and can communicate to the West directly, without intermediaries.
The largeness and the possibility of the West should not scare us. Georgia has always been able to adapt to the great civilizations so that maintained and developed its own uniqueness. So, if we believe in Georgia, we should welcome new knowledge and values. We’ll only get stronger.

Georgia an NATO

NATO is a military - political bloc, whose membership is the biggest guarantee of security in the modern world. So in the fact, that Georgia wants NATO membership there is nothing strange. It is very interesting idea, that it is possible to find alternative ways of achieving the same level and quality of security. Georgia can ensure a certain level of security on its own, but it’s unlikely to deal with all the risks and dangers.
Let’s discuss possible alternatives. There are basically two directions. Georgia enters any other military alliance or tries to ensure its own safety.
In the first case, we should say what the possible alliances are. We have three large and militarily powerful states in neighborhood. These are Turkey, Iran and Russia. Turkey is a NATO member and allying it is the same as joining NATO. Military alliance with Iran means confrontation with the West, which is in our strategic interest. Remained Russia, with whom we have a military conflict and it is not going to count us as equal partner. On the other hand a military alliance with Iran or Russia cannot protect us from such threats such as international terrorism or illegal spread of nuclear weapons. Russia itself has problems in the North Caucasus, and as our experience shows, its promises are not credible. It is clear that our neighbors are quite backward compared NATO member countries in terms of technology.
Let’s discuss the other way, i.e. by our own efforts to try to secure in such level as it would be in the case for NATO membership. In our opinion, in this case Georgia should be able to hold its own nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, modern aircraft and naval fleet, officers and soldiers with appropriate qualifications. At first glance, it doesn’t look serious. How Georgia can manage this? How to get financial, technological, and political resources for that? That’s the point, but if you seriously think about creating a separate security guarantees comparable to NATO membership, we will have to manage it.

Russia and America

While discussing foreign political Partners of Georgia, Russia and the United States are often compared to each other. I think firstly their function and abilities should be compared and then formulate the attitude towards them. Who is America? America is a country that is ahead of all other countries in technological, financial, military, scientific and intellectual abilities. America is the political leader of the Western world, and it is the main taker of responsibility, on international terrorism, economic crises, or other political and military conflicts. What the West with American leadership can offer Georgia? First of all, attractive political projects where Georgia sees its future. For example, NATO and the EU are sufficient.
Who is Russia and what it able to? Russia is a continuation of the Soviet Union, the same ambitions, but with more weak capabilities. What Russia can offer us? Nothing, except not treat us worse than they treat us so far. Russia cannot be a leader. He does not have any new political ideas and projects. So called Eurasian Union is the same Soviet Union and nothing else. But Russia wants to be a “Khazein” in our country. That’s why it is against of Georgia’s NATO membership, because if Georgia joins NATO, Russia wouldn’t be able to become a “Khazein” here anymore.

So a leader or a “Khazein”, this is a difference between Russia and America.


Defense and Security

Respect and honor to soldier, reduction of technological backlog, formation of the officers class, military elite - an integral part of the national elite, special precautions for personnel matters - problem of exiling a qualified army officers due to the improper policy in the recent past.

Education and Science

Education - In education system, as well as in other fields, the main problem is the lack of qualification. Building schools’ technological base is good, but it cannot replace the function of a teacher. If we want to raise educational level of Schools, main attention should be concentrated on teachers. Nowadays being a teacher is not prestigious and successful people don’t choose this profession. Simultaneously of schools material - technical improvement, we should raise teachers’ prestige and reputation.

Science - Our science should become part of global scientific process. A small and poor country such ours will not be able to develop science independently. We must achieve that, certain components of researches at European or other scientific centers, to be carried out in Georgia. So we will create a basis for a new generation of scientists.
5% of GDP to be spend on education and science.


Healthcare system and medical service

The government should encourage health insurance spending. Such costs should not be taxed. In addition, we believe that the policy of construction of hospitals by insurance companies will is incorrect. Insurance companies and health care services must be separated and insured person should be able to get service at any medical centre. As in other areas the main driving power should be competition. The state must have only an auxiliary role.
One of the major problems in the medical field is lack of necessary knowledge and skills of management. Often, when high-class surgeons perform a difficult operation, the patient survived, but later patients die due to lack of necessary conditions and qualifications for post-surgical rehabilitation. That is problem of the medical management and its solution is in serious professional training.

Unemployment, Pensions

The scale of the problem, a quick solution does not exist, in an ideal case the problem will be solved in 10 years, 15-17 years by optimistic predictions. Development-oriented economy, the unemployment insurance and free the spending from taxes, promote the spread of new knowledge and skills, and so on.

Economic

In Georgian conditions the state regulation of the economy should be small scale. However, if there is a need, smart regulation must be done. The main goal is medium and long-term results; we don’t need regulation for the regulation or short-term effects. The main driving force of the economy is people’s business activities and the main function of the state is in the removal of obstacles for such activities. First of all, people must be having a sense of political and legal stability and inviolability of property is the main determining factor for this. The politicians need to stop discredit economic projects initiated by competitors (Misha - Singapore, Bidzina - Dubai), and act by the interests of the country.
Georgia has little long-term economic projects so far. This situation must be changed. Creating pension funds, industry development fund and as a result of the increase credit rating of the country will appear so called “long money”. This will finance long-term projects and ensure economic growth.
We must say no to the budget deficit. If we still need to do so, a year’s budget deficit should not be more than 3 percent of GDP.
We must also reduce the external debt as possible, do not exclude the idea of include this in process of privatization or concessions. Must control and put the inflation within the 3-4 per cent. The current deflation seems risky for us and it’s acceptable to consider monetary policy changes.
We also think of allowing free circulation of the dollar and the euro. Thereby reduce currency risks and improve the investment environment.
In determining economic policy, as well as the other cases, it is important to understand the task, exactly what the problem should be solved and then outline the ways. For example, many people are talking about the villagers’ problems, but situations in not going to improvement. This is because the task of improving the agricultural sector has been reduced to one or the other specific direction. At this time the problem is much more widespread.
Two million people live in rural areas and challenge is defeating their poverty. Only the agricultural sector can solve this problem? The answer is simple - no, because of the Georgian agricultural sector has no such potential. It is necessary to develop other sectors of the economy and the reduction in the number of people involved in agriculture. The economy as a whole should create new jobs, and we cannot be relying on one of the field’s development.


Attitudes towards the different cultural issue

Georgia is a part of Christian civilization, no to unisex marriage, no to abortion, strengthening the role of women, compensation time spent on motherhood, in 90s women struggled for families, Georgia is a country of men of work and women of work.
Integration of minorities and formation “Political Georgians” from them.

Democracy and civil society

Why do we need democracy? There are different opinions on this issue in our society and some considers democracy as the instruments of a world conspiracy, some of them – as ability to please its foreign partners. We believe that democracy is what we need for the final formation of the country. We need to create and such social and political tradition where the government changes through peaceful ways and the new government wouldn’t waste the previous government’s achievements. This is only possible with democratic elections.
Does not and never will exist a government without mistakes. Society needs legitimate mechanism to correct government’s mistakes. This is a different class of periodic elections. Only with elections society can indicate the political elite about their will and make necessary corrections to the management.
Civil society is an integral part of democracy. In it we mean rights and opportunities for members of society to unite in various interest groups and to deal with different issues without the intervention of the government.
In Georgia civil society is in condition of embryo. So far, only the so called “Watchdog forces” appear to be active. Professional associations, business associations, community centers or other types of unities created according to the different interests are having a passive role. It should be noted that in Georgia does not yet established tradition of identification themselves with a particular interest group and people do not participate in the financing of public associations, it cannot be only explained by poverty and squalor, just this kind of behavior is not familiar to our culture and nobody thinks about that. Even “Watchdogs” exist only with support of the international donor organizations, that itself is not bad, but it won’t last forever.
We believe that at the same time with activation of society, government also must show that it needs and is ready to take services of civil institutions. For example, it is better in issues such as social protection, disabilities - care, implementation of various programs in education, integration of minorities, vocational retraining, solving local infrastructure etc. instead of creating a bureaucratic state institutions, to purchase the appropriate services from various public organizations.
We deem it possible to involve research centers and business associations in government programs and strategy development process, as well as participation of representatives of “watchdogs” in various community boards. Overall, we consider civil society as arena for detecting and realization of human abilities and it existence is critically important for the development of the country.


The political class and the media

Since 90s our political class has undergone a significant evolution. Was found management skills of the political process and people with an experience of government management. However, still there is a lack of political tradition and the risk of withdrawal from the peace process. To avoid these risks, must stop the practice of considering political rivals as deadly enemies and hate speech. We can say that the hatred overflown Georgian politics. Our goal is to achieve political campaigns based on dignity and respect and every new election would more consolidate the public.
Unfortunately, we should note that the virus of hatred is spread on the media as well. Happened that the media failed to become a full and independent industry. Georgian media is not a business, but the continuation of politics. We think that we should give the media exemption from the policy, for example, declining broadcasters’ commitment from so called free political advertising.

Demographics, territorial arrangements and self-governance

It is extremely important to understand in what kind of demographic conditions we live. Our reality - 1.5 million Tbilisi, and the rest is provincial Georgia, elites were collected in Tbilisi and deficit of leadership in regions, the need for urban development, necessity of fiscal decentralization. Solving these problems requires a broad public consensus about territorial issues and managerial functions of government institutions.
Many society groups have territorial arrangement’s reform initiative, but sensible concept hasn’t been heard so far. The impression is that they are going to create a regional authorities first and later think about functional load. We believe that first we need to establish a public/state institutions’ governance functions and then specify what type of function which institution should play.

Property, the courts and justice

In order to establish a feeling of justice in society, the issue of property should be resolved once and for all. Must achieve a situation where the owners do not have to prove innocence. If needed, declare a broad amnesty and make a strategic political decision of immunity about conditions of a specific date. Otherwise, economic development would be impossible. Finally establish a fair resolution practice of dispute issues and with that strengthen authority and reputation of the judiciary as the most important institution of the state.



Conflicts

It’s difficult issue to resolve Georgia’s territorial conflicts. We should not hope for an easy solution. We should take lessons from the past mistakes and approach to this problem carefully and sensible.
Resolution of our conflicts is a wide range international process. In the process, we have strong positions in a number of issues and we must use this “Trump Card”. The main focus should move to the humanitarian side of the conflict, refugees and their rights. We must achieve the recognition that these people have right to return to their own land and then come up to political, legal and security mechanisms for this process.





Print