This week I am in Tbilisi, Georgia, as an election observer for their parliamentary elections. The trip is sponsored by the International Republican Institute, a private, nonprofit group. IRI promotes democratic procedures, fair elections and participatory democracy as does its counterpart, which is the National Democratic Institute. Neither is part of the partisan RNC or DNC.
Georgia was part of the former Soviet Union and is where Joseph Stalin was born. It has been an independent nation for 25 years with varying degrees of success. I was present four years ago in Georgia, also as an election observer for IRI, when parliamentary elections were held and resulted in the ruling party being swept out of office.