The United National Movement: Guiding Principles
The mission of the United National Movement is to build a strong Georgia based on a society that is free, developing and democratic. Our primary goals are defending freedom, strengthening democracy and facilitating the development of society. We believe that only this way can we achieve the dream of each and every one of us—a strong Georgia, All of the other decisions, positions, and proposals described below are based on this core mission and these primary goals. We want to create an organization which will realize this mission and meet the needs of our country; an organization in which each member nurtures our shared vision. We want to create an organization which will be of service to the country for a long time so that we might best achieve our cherished goals. The following sections cover such issues as how we envision our organization in 2010, which are the central values in the party, by which each member should be guided; the strategic concepts that will guide us during the coming years, our goals for 2005-2006 and our plans for achieving these goals. Ten Central Principles for the Functioning of the Organization In order to fulfill our mission and achieve results in the short and long term, we must unfailingly abide by the rules and principles listed below. Each of us whom the party unites, and especially those through whose efforts and by whose example our organization is managed, should conduct ourselves in accordance with these values: 1. A strong Georgia, based on a strong society, is our organization’s core goal. We believe that a strong Georgia can only be built through freedom, democracy and constant development of our society. This is the central principle that underlies all other views, decisions and actions. 2. For us, state interests are akin to the interests of a well informed society. Society is the main force, which governs the state by means of government and political forces. Our main function is to serve society and help it govern the country coming out from its own interests. 3. When government deeds and the public interest conflict, our party stands firmly on the side of the public interest. We will pressure the government and all of its branches at all times to act only in accordance with the public interest and to respect that interest as supreme. 4. Strong opposition from other parties is something which we should encourage and welcome, because it motivates us and gives us incentives to be resourceful, efficient and successful in fulfilling our mission. This is why we must never hinder other parties. Our
main tools in the competitive struggle with them will be the success of our policies in bringing social benefit and the open exchange of information in society. We must always consider opposition parties’ points of view, pay attention to what their example and use good ideas, no matter who introduced them, to fulfill our mission. 5. We believe that a robust and free mass media is the only means to achieving the broadest possible knowledge of what is happening in our country, what ails society and what the public needs and demands. Such a media also the best means for promoting an informed assessment of our policy results. This is why our main concern regarding media will be to facilitate its free and independent development. 6. It is more important that things get done, than it is who does them. This principle obliges us to collaborate widely, including with non-governmental organizations, other political parties, and other organizations. By collaborating, we can do more for society than we could alone. We understand that this is how those who claim to be leading forces in the country and who enjoy popular support must act. 7. Our party must never take steps which allow harm to come to even the smallest section of the society; it must always consider the full impact of its decisions, and act so as not to jeopardize the interests of one social group because of the interests of another. 8. We must never allow personal relationships to interfere with decision making, nor permit favoritism of individuals or groups. We will use systems of clear criteria and strive to be completely objective while making decisions and evaluations. 9. We must never make decisions which, by responding to short term goals and circumstances, impede fulfillment of the party’s long term goals and tasks. We are undertaking to build an organization that can serve society for as long as possible. 10. Honesty always, with everyone and in all matters—this is an overriding principle, without which we can neither earn nor deserve the trust of the public; and trust is the most necessary precondition for the complete fulfillment of our vision. The principles listed above shall be the primary point of reference for all those authorized to make decisions on behalf of the party. Reference to these principles can provide a common understanding so that party work can be more effective, efficient and responsible. Five Main Rules for Party Members In order to fulfill our mission, we must have the personnel who embody this mission with relevant values, motives and skills. This is why members, all of whom are effectively representatives of the United National Movement, must abide by and promote the following five main rules: 1. Serve society; do as much as you can to bring maximum benefit to it. 2. Provide an example by your behavior, by your love of your motherland, by your support of the people around you; strive to be a lively and positive presence in the environment around you. 3. Be honest always, with everyone and in all matters. Stand up to lies, wrongdoing and inertia.
4. Care for the party’s reputation. Remember that by everything you say or do, you mold the organization’s image. We need to be taken for our own word and trusted; take responsibility for building this trust. 5. Never stop growing. Try to develop, learn and mature, that you might do more for society tomorrow than you can today. Each member of the party must be an active proponent of these rules. We will take adherence to these rules into consideration while evaluating prospective members of the party as well as while promoting them in the structural hierarchy. Party members who treat these rules as precious will be encouraged, while those who violate them will be immediately expelled from the party ranks. We understand well that only through this discipline will our organization be capable of achieving our mission and vision. This is why we assume the obligation, first, to live and act in accordance with these principles, and second, to instill them in all levels of the party hierarchy.
Georgia is at an important stage in its centuries-old history. Georgia regained its independence in 1991, after seven decades of occupation. Since then, it has undergone a period characterized by internal conflicts supported from outside of Georgia, and by political and economic instability. Nevertheless, the people of Georgia have made an unequivocal decision to build a democratic and free state that ensures the rule of law, human rights, security, a free market economy, and the prosperity of its citizens. The Rose Revolution of November 2003 once again demonstrated that democracy and liberty are part of Georgian traditional values and are of vital necessity to the people of Georgia. Georgia, as an integral part of the European political, economic and cultural area, and whose fundamental national values are rooted in European values and traditions, aspires to achieve full-fledged integration into Europe’s political, economic and security systems. We, as a ruling party, aspire to return to the European tradition and to remain an integral part of Europe.
Fundamental Values of the United National Movement
United National Moment’s fundamental values are adopted from what we believe are the essential components of Georgian Statehood. These fundamental values thus go beyond party lines, because the very existence and security of Georgia depends on their inviolability. The UNM will protect these fundamental values by all available lawful means. The fundamental values of the UNM are: Independence Georgia is a sovereign, independent state that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states and expects the same from them. We reject the interference of any state in the domestic affairs of Georgia. Freedom
The rights and freedoms envisaged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are fundamental values of the UNM. We are committed to guaranteeing the protection of the universally recognized human rights and freedoms of all individuals and groups residing in Georgia, to respecting their freedom to conduct their lives and affairs, and to creating favorable conditions for the realization of opportunity by every individual. Democracy and Rule of Law The UNM adheres to universal democratic values and principles, based on belief in the democratic system of governance. The state should maintain a political system which guarantees a strong and independent judiciary. The UNM promotes the development of civil society and freedom of the media. Prosperity The UNM strives to secure sustainable economic development based on democratically established and transparent operating guidelines. Through these guidelines, we consider that the state should ensure the implementation of an effective social policy aimed at increasing the welfare of, and creating decent living conditions for, all citizens. The UNM fosters the development of a free market economy and creation of favorable conditions for entrepreneurship, enhancement of foreign trade, and attraction of investments. Peace Georgia aims to establish and maintain good relations with every state based on the norms of international law. Development of friendly relations with neighboring states is of particular importance for the UNM. Hence, the state has to resolve all disputes by peaceful means, based on the norms of international law. A free, independent, united, prosperous, and peaceful Georgia will significantly contribute to strengthening regional security and stability. Security Georgia aspires to guarantee security of the nation, its institutions and citizens, within its internationally recognized state borders. While safeguarding security, the UNM adheres to the norms of international law.
The peaceful Rose Revolution of November 2003 put Georgia in the world spotlight. But more importantly it provoked a new sense of hope and unity among Georgian citizens, replacing the frustration and cynicism that grew to dominate our national consciousness in the decade after independence. The primary goal of the United National Movement’s economic policy is to create an environment conducive to conducting business in Georgia, thereby dramatically increasing foreign investment and stimulating domestic entrepreneurship. This targeted approach will
promote growth and reduce poverty in a country whose economy has failed to realize its potential for more than a decade. The United National Movement’s vision for economic policy is to act as an enabler, not as an interventionist. Within this context, the government’s responsibility lies in creating favorable conditions and institutions for transparent economic growth. Under the previous government, corruption in the business sector was commonplace and was condoned by the government. The business climate was further tainted by high tax rates and complex business regulations. Deregulations In order to encourage private business development and reduce to a minimum the government’s involvement in economic processes, the United National Movement is pursuing a firm policy of deregulation. The number of controlling and licensing agencies should be drastically reduced, and regulatory procedures should be substantially simplified. Privatization and foreign investment Georgia has theoretically had a free market economy for more than ten years. But the former government allowed a surprisingly large percentage of the country’s economic assets to remain in state ownership, where many of these assets remained unproductive or derelict due to a lack of investment or corrupt management. The United National Movement, as a ruling party, has adopted policies aiming to leverage investment and revitalize derelict or underperforming enterprises, by transferring state-owned enterprises to private ownership as rapidly as possible. Privatization is a critical component of the ongoing systemic reforms designed to eradicate the remaining vestiges of the Soviet economic system. Mindful of mistakes made in the privatization process elsewhere in the former Soviet Union and during the 1990s in Georgia, we attach great importance to ensuring the transparency and fairness of the privatization process. Our priority is to give equal chances to all potential buyers, international and local, and to exclude any form of discrimination or favoritism. The economic policy of the UNM aims at providing the necessary economic conditions for ensuring Georgia’s development and strengthening its economic growth. The ongoing process of economic recovery is a result of government policy aimed at achieving long-term sustainable economic growth based on free market principles. The priorities of UNM’s economic policy are: strengthening macroeconomic stability through improvement of the tax collection system, implementation of effective monetary policy, introduction of a medium term expenditure policy, and efficient state debt management; job creation and development of the private sector through deregulation of the economy, stimulation of small and medium size enterprises, improvement of the investment climate and protection of private property rights;
improvement of the investment climate in the agriculture sector and development of an agricultural land market; creation of a favorable business environment for development of traditional and innovative industry sectors; development of tourism and the full exploitation of Georgia’s capacities in this field; implementation of a regional policy aimed at reducing social and economic disparities between the capital city and the regions, including provision of equal opportunities for regional development and implementation of target programs aimed at the development of mountainous regions; development of basic infrastructure, through modernization of Georgia’s road infrastructure and realization of Georgia’s potential in the comparative advantages of transit, transport and communications; active participation in international economic projects which will facilitate Georgia’s integration into the global economy; development of Georgia’s export potential; creation of conditions for fair competition and equal opportunities in business by prohibiting exclusive rights that might limit fair competition, especially in the communication and energy sectors. The United National Movement supports establishing international contacts and engaging international advisors and observers in the process of guiding economic policy. Georgia’s attractiveness for local and international investors is bolstered its favorable geographic location as a true crossroads between Europe and Asia. A unique geography together with multiple Black Sea ports, a well-developed railroad and highway system, oil and gas pipelines, and airports with international carriers certified at international standards of operation make Georgia a vital transport, communication and energy corridor between the West and the East.
In order to ensure social cohesion of the Georgian population, The United National Movement, as ruling party, is implementing a social policy aimed at improving the quality of life. The priorities of the United National Movement’s social policy are: eradicating extreme poverty and social exclusion, reducing poverty, improving living standards and facilitating the development of a strong middle class; curtailing high unemployment by working to provide opportunities for employment, especially in regions, and increasing labor mobility;
establishing a modern education system, ensuring primary and secondary education for every citizen of Georgia, improving the quality of higher education through its alignment with the requirements of the national and global labor market and conforming to successful international examples of systems of education and science; reforming pension and social protection systems, developing targeted social assistance programs, and gradually covering arrears in pensions and other debts; reforming the healthcare system so that availability of high-quality health care is guaranteed; developing an effective insurance market and promoting healthy lifestyles and a clean environment; preventing socially dangerous diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS and drug-addiction. The United National Movement as in its capacity as Georgia’s ruling party has been pursuing an active social policy. Important changes have already taken place: the education system is undergoing intensive and robust reforms, a significant portion of accumulated pension debts has been paid and social assistance programs are proceeding unimpeded.
A top policy priority of the United National Movement is to improve the legislative base, by establishing favorable conditions to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and to bring it up to international standards. To this end, several legislative reforms have taken place, initiated by the new ruling party after the November 2003 revolution. One of the first changes of this kind was the confiscation of unregistered property from officials, the prosecuting of criminal embezzlement and the introduction of other important anticorruption legislative mechanisms. For this reason, changes have been introduced to various laws and codes, including the criminal code and the code of criminal procedures. These new legislative changes make it possible to use property obtained through corruption as evidence, creating a basis for the application of justice in corruption cases. A very important change in the law “Regarding Work and Authority Order and Georgian Governmental Structure” has been introduced. As a result, ministry personnel rolls have decreased and redundant departments have been closed. Thanks to these changes the government is adapting a flexible and effective structure. Antiterrorist legislative programs have been created, which include changes and additions to the Georgian criminal procedural code, criminal code and laws regarding criminal investigations. The Ministry of Justice introduced a legislative innovation, the aim of which is to organization the responsibilities of judicial bodies in using property seizure as punishment. This improves the effectiveness of the sequestration mechanism and makes the punishment for cases of corruption more severe. Prior to this, there was no clear legal basis for punishment in cases of corruption. To create a reform strategy for various areas of criminal conduct, the following action areas have been identified:
1. the departments of police and crime prevention; 2. reform of the Prosecutor’s Office; 3. advocacy and development of a system of legal advising; 4. court reform; 5. reform of the code of criminal and administrative offences; 6. penitentiary system reform; 7. reform of the criminal code process; 8. public defender institution reform 9. reform of legal education; 10. active cooperation with European Union committees which advise Georgia. The UNM is actively involved in creation of a legislative basis for the restitution of property rights to residents of South Ossetia. With financial assistance from the European Union, a special penitentiary system reform project has been launched in Georgia together with the Council of Europe which envisions legislative amendments, creating a cell-type penitentiary system, training penitentiary system employees, changing the administrative model of the prisons and supplying them with modern equipment. In addition, with the support of the Council of Europe, a system of non-custodial punishment and probation is being developed, with probation officers undergoing special training programs. Parallel with other reforms, judicial ranks are changing. As a result of the introduction of qualification exams, better qualified lawyers will enter the judiciary. Qualification exams will take place according to rules that respect a variety of specializations, in civil, administrative and criminal law. Besides structural and functional changes, the current reform aims to increase judges’ salaries and social guaranties. In 2005 judges’ salaries were increased by 34,3%-54,8% over 2004 levels; in 2006 the state budget of Georgia indicates that judges’ salaries will increase 100%. The High Council of Justice will serve to oversee disciplinary legal proceedings connected with violations of judicial codes and ethics; this process will be safeguarded by a system of appeals of Disciplinary Council decisions according to the rights of legal protection provided by the Constitution of Georgia International Law. As a result of the reform of the judiciary, human rights will be safeguarded by the experience of highly qualified judges and the independence of the judiciary.
Priorities in Georgia’s establishment of modern armed forces include the improvement of combat capabilities, the bettering of military personnel living conditions and the updating of military infrastructure to modern standards. The UNM, in its capacity as ruling party, seeks to provide consistency in the national defense capabilities so that the overall defense system meets modern requirements, which include updated monitoring of defense priorities, focus on improvement of the planning process and development programs, rapid and effective implementation of decisions, and improvement of the defense management system, thus making it possible for military personnel to conduct important training exercises and become adequately responsive to threats and challenges based on the resources available. The major defense policy objective is to facilitate the NATO integration process, which will provide mechanisms of collective defense necessary to provide security to Georgia. The ultimate goal is a highly capable NATO-interoperable Armed Forces able to contribute to any NATO-led military operation. The Georgian authorities consider it necessary to develop efficient reserve and mobilization systems to enhance Georgia’s defense capability. At the same time, it is important to create a civil defense system to provide security for the Georgian people. Civil defense will serve as a support mechanism for the state defense system in case of serious threats or crises, will prepare the civil population for defense and will ensure the protection of material and cultural values by minimizing or eliminating the consequences of crises or emergencies.
Georgia has always been a place where education is highly valued and educated people enjoy great respect. During the Soviet period, those with advanced education continued to enjoy prestige. Educational institutions provided entree to the best-paid and most secure professional positions in Soviet society. As a result, competition for acceptance to the best education institutions was intense and the love of learning became secondary to the desire to obtain a prestigious diploma by any means. So intense was the competition for coveted university admission that it became commonplace during the Soviet era and in the years following its collapse for parents to spend excessive sums to hire tutors to prepare their children for the university entrance examination. The competition for entrance to university unsurprisingly led to corruption and even decay of Georgia’s universities. After Georgia obtained its independence, however, the corruption and decay of the education system became endemic. Economic support for the schools declined drastically. Much of the government’s financial support for education was pocketed by persons in authority, and failed to benefit either students or teachers. University buildings and entire tracts of land owned by universities were in some cases illegally privatized for the benefit of powerful officials. The best teachers fled to the private sector.
Many teachers who did not find private employment began to supplement their paltry incomes by selling grades and admissions. Discipline and standards fell by the wayside, especially at the university level, and intellectual stagnation was inevitable. Every aspect of education suffered—teaching quality, curriculum development, research capacity and physical facilities. Despite this, Georgia is proud to have some excellent private primary and secondary schools, offering education up to western standards. Even in the public schools, the talent and dedication of many teachers and administrators has ensured a quality of education that western observers admire. The United National Movement assigns an high priority to the task of reforming and revitalizing the education system. Derived from the above, our goals include: making structures of the Georgian educational system meet the education and research standards in the Euro-Atlantic sphere; emphasizing life-long learning; providing equal access to educational opportunity for all Georgians; providing a system of education and scientific research that is responsive to the needs of the labor market in Georgia. The most visible actions taken so far are those designed to root out and prevent corruption in the higher education system. The appointments of all public university rectors were terminated and most have been replaced. A new system of licensing and accreditation is being introduced to end the existence of ‘diploma mills’, universities that have been granting diplomas without possessing qualified teachers or adequate facilities in which to teach students.
Georgia is a part of the East-West and North-South energy corridors, a location which is important for the political independence and economic development of the country. We realize the role that Georgia plays as a component of the supply corridor of energy resources from Caspian and Central Asian regions to the rest of the world. In order to ensure energy security and independence, the state should conduct a policy aimed at the diversification of energy generation and import sources, greater energy efficiency, and the creation of an energy crisis prevention and management system. For these purposes, the state should create favorable conditions for attracting foreign investment in energy, enhance international cooperation in the energy sector, and actively participate in European and Western energy projects. Our short-term priorities are: eradication of the current energy deficiency; rehabilitation of Georgia’s energy infrastructure; liberalization of the energy sector and improvement of its financial conditions;
privatization of the energy distribution system and certain hydropower stations.
Our party’s environmental security policy is aimed at the protection of individuals and the environment through measures which prevent substantial depletion of natural resources and environmental pollution and which minimize the consequences of man-made and natural disasters. Special importance is attributed to large-scale industrial accidents and natural disasters such as floods, landslides, avalanches and earthquakes. Regular risk assessments and public awareness campaigns must be carried out, and an efficient crisis prevention and post-crisis management system developed. The priorities of our environmental policy are: control over the sources of air pollution, prevention of pollution and degradation of agricultural soils, and radioactive waste and rocket fuel cleanup; food security; harmonization of Georgian legislation with United Nations and European environmental protection standards. The United National Movement acknowledges that the implementation of environmental policy requires close regional and international cooperation. Successful cooperation among Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the field of environmental protection contributes to strengthening the ecological security of the region. The United National Movement seeks to ensure that environmental considerations are given proper attention while the government is adopting necessary measures to support economic development and social justice. The distinctive value of the environment of Georgia is renowned. Georgia hosts a unique variety of essentially untouched and well-preserved ecosystems, sheltering large numbers of native species. This represents a universally recognized global asset. Facing many challenges typical for a country in transition, the United National Movement assumes responsibility for a balanced and careful approach towards custodianship of the natural environment of the country. While the undisputed priority is to create sound conditions for the country’s much-needed economic growth and social justice, no development will be considered sustainable without the proper integration of environmental considerations in its planning. The principle adopted by the United National Movement is to keep government intervention at the minimum level necessary to ensure environmental sustainability, while removing an excess burden from the stakeholders and preserving a transparent business environment. This approach is essential for attracting more investments, which in turn will generate more resources for environmental protection. Preservation of Cultural Heritage
We acknowledge that development in the cultural sphere is a necessary precondition for the nation’s sustainable development. The UNM seeks to maintain and develop the nation’s unique cultural heritage, which in turn enriches the culture of the world. In this respect, an active policy must be pursued to preserve national cultural heritage, promote modern and traditional Georgian arts, and protect architectural and natural value. We strive to guarantee the preservation of the cultural heritage of all national minorities residing in Georgia. Integration into the European Union We view the European Union as a community of nations that ensures the peace and prosperity of Europe. Georgia’s cooperation with the EU contributes to the implementation of democratic reforms and to the strengthening of the market economy and security of the country. Values and objectives shared by the EU are common to Georgia, which considers EU membership a key component of economic and political development in the region. Georgia’s accession to the EU will strengthen Europe by restoring the Black Sea region as a zone of European trade and stability. The current framework for the relationship between Georgia and the EU is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). Objectives of the partnership include strengthening of political dialogue, a market economy, democracy, trade, investment and harmonious economic relations; these provide the basis for legislative, economic, social, financial, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation. Implementation of the National Program of Harmonization of Georgian Legislation with EU Legislation is underway within the framework of the PCA. In June 2004, Georgia was included in the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), which represents an important mechanism for further involvement with the European Union. The ENP provides opportunities to ensure the “four freedoms” of exchange (goods, services, capital and persons), to increase the efficiency of state institutions, and to enhance scientific and educational cooperation with the EU. There is further opportunity for cooperation in the fields of political dialogue, border protection, crisis management and the rule of law. Georgia ascribes great importance to the elaboration and successful implementation of the action plan within the ENP in order to exploit fully all opportunities offered by the EU. After achieving tangible progress in socio-economic, institutional, legal and political spheres, we intend to develop a format ensuring a higher level of integration with the EU until full membership becomes possible. Legal and institutional reforms are underway in Georgia according to EU standards. Georgia fully subscribes to the principles enumerated in the document ”European Security Strategy: A Secure Europe in a Better World”, and is ready to take part in its implementation. The assistance of the EU to Georgia through various projects under the Technical Assistance to the CIS (TACIS) program and EU Rule of Law Mission to Georgia (EUJUST THEMIS) has been instrumental in fostering Georgia’s reforms in a variety of spheres. Foreign policy is one of the main directions of our national policy, aiming to establish a favorable international security environment for Georgia. In order to achieve this goal, we must cooperate with the international community in bilateral and multilateral formats.
What our Organization will look like in 2010
Our party will have widespread support in society, which will be generated by a relationship with the public built on hope, love and trust. The name of our party will be associated with the unity of the country, with a high tempo of social development and with an increase in prosperity, results of its hard work. Our party will unite honest, educated and respectful people, who will share values and goals, and who are motivated to pursue the party mission. The results of our policies will be maintained and continued thanks to a nationwide network of skilled participants from every part of the country, which will enable the party to make the best use of available resources and existing potential. The organization will have honed the skills of staying aware of the interests of society, making decisions that are well-informed and competent, and ensuring their implementation through effective follow-through. Our party will always be ready to cooperate with any force around concrete issues when public interests so require. It will try to find common ground with them and to work together whenever possible to realize its mission. The promises fulfilled and the results achieved will be the basis for pride and dedication to organizational principles for every last member of the party.