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Tbilisi voters at a loss

By M. Alkhazashvili
Tuesday, June 3
Dr. Giorgi Khutsishvili’s International Center on Conflict and Negotiation polled Tbilisi residents on their attitudes after last month’s parliamentary elections, in which the government won a crushing—but disputed—victory.

More than half had no faith in the results of the election. That number is not representative of the country at large, but the attitudes of Georgia’s single largest population center are not insignificant.

Less than a quarter of respondents expect this next parliament, which has a four-year term, to be multi-party and democratic.

But they put as little faith in the opposition as they do the government—less than 40 percent of respondents thought a boycott of parliament is a sound idea.

Tbilisi voters are apparently at a loss. They think the elections were unfair and the parliament undemocratic, but disapprove of even peacefully radical steps to overturning the results.

This is bad news for the opposition in the short-term, and bad news for the government in the medium-term.

The opposition cannot count on public support in its current bid to have the election results annulled.

But public support for radical measures can grow with time. And voters are unlikely to come to see this parliament as truly democratic. That spells trouble for the government in the next two or three years. The parliamentary elections have put everyone at a loss.