Cities in GEORGIA
Pending a new constitution, delayed by disagreements over the autonomy issue of Abkhazia, Adzharia and South Ossetia, the old constitution of the Soviet Republic of Georgia is still in force, although it was amended in important respects in 1995.
After the fall of President Gamsakhurdia in 1992, the Parliament was dissolved and a Supreme Council (replacing the Supreme Soviet) with legislative and executive powers was created.
The Supreme Council has 235 members who are elected for four years. One can participate in the elections from the age of 18 and can be a member of the parliament from the age of 25. There is another chamber, the Senate, but it is not yet active. Its members are directly elected by the people. The chairman of the Supreme Council is the president and the head of state of the country, who is also directly elected in separate elections. The president is elected for five years and can stay in office for a maximum of two terms. The President appoints the Prime Minister.
The Georgian Republic comprises two autonomous republics and one autonomous region: the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and the Autonomous Region of South Ossetia.
Georgia is further administratively divided into 65 rural areas, 62 municipalities and 53 residential areas with an urban character.
Since the introduction of the multi-party system in 1990, more than 100 political parties have been established. The main parties are the Agrarian Party of Georgia, President Eduard Shevardnadze's Civic Society of Georgia, the Georgian Popular Front, the Georgian Social Democratic Party, the Green Party, the National Democratic Party, the Party of National Independence and the Workers' Union. The Communist Party, the only party until 1990, was banned in 1991, but a socialist party was allowed again in 1994.
Since independence in 1991, Georgia has been the scene of ethnic violence, separatist uprisings and this has resulted in a turbulent political situation that is only slowly stabilising under Shevardnadze. It is estimated that more than 20,000 people have been killed in regional and ethnic conflicts since 1991.
The current political situation is described in the history section.
Education has always played an important role in Georgian society, and education centres were already there at the time of the Greek colonies in the Colchis region east of the Black Sea. For a long time, education was provided by the Georgian Church.
Under the rule of the Soviet Union, all Georgians were guaranteed free education, both primary and higher. The result was that Georgia had relatively the largest number of highly educated people in the entire Soviet Union. The situation today is much less favourable. The current education system suffers, among other things, from a lack of money and outdated teaching methods. Many parents try to place their children in public schools. Private universities are also popular and the demand for foreign scholarships is high.
There are 19 higher education institutions in Georgia, including specialised teacher training colleges and agricultural colleges. There is also a medical school, an art school, a conservatory and a theatre school, all in Tbilisi. The University of Tbilisi is the largest in the country and was founded in 1917 after the Russian revolution.
Burford, T. / Georgia
Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan
Rosen, R. / Georgia
Spilling, M. / Georgia
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