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Don't do our exit polls, Dzidziguri tells US company

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 13
Leader of the Conservative party and National Council Mayoral Candidate Zviad Dzidziguri has appealed to US Ambassador to Georgia John Bass to ask American company Edison Research not to conduct the exit polls it is contracted to conduct.

“It has already become known that Edison Research is intending to carry out exit polls in Georgia after people have voted by order of Imedi and Rustavi 2 TV. At the 2008 Presidential elections the same company conducted another exit poll under the auspices of Temur Iakobashvili (the present Minister of Reintegration) and Gia Nodia (the former Minister of Education who is currently Chairman of Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development). Those exit polls were totally falsified and everyone knows this. I appeal to Edison Research not to agree to hold any more exit polls in Georgia, as they will undoubtedly be falsified by the present Georgian Government and this will harm the company's image. We appeal to Ambassador Bass, to ask them not to do this,” Dzidziguri stated.

The Alliance for Georgia also made a statement along the same lines. "It is absolutely obvious that all the exit polls and opinion polls we have seen have been falsified by the present Government in order to persuade people that they have the highest rating. Edison Research itself is a very influential and serous company, but all its activities in this country are actually undertaken by Georgian companies, most of which are controlled by the Government. After these polls are published the leaders of these companies are generally appointed to important posts, like Nodia and Iakobashvili were. By involving such serious foreign companies in this process the Government is trying to prove that its polling must be reliable, but in reality they are using the good names of international companies as a front for conducting their illegal activities,” Manana Nachkebia told The Messenger.

Alliance Mayoral candidate Irakli Alasania made a statement on the same issue. "I appeal to all citizens not to pay an attention to the results of any opinion poll. The real situation is absolutely different. There is a police regime in our country and many of our supporters are frightened to tell the truth when they are asked who they intend to vote for. We are going to win these elections and the public is ready for change,” Alasania said.

The Government has rejected the opposition appeals. "Some people prefer to live in the 21st century and some in the 15th. I am not surprised by these oppositional statements, as they frequently deny that opinion polls and exit polls are accurate. All international companies carrying out polls in Georgia are very qualified and have serious means of ensuring that their results are reliable,” MP Davit Darchiashvili told The Messenger.

Analyst Giorgi Khutsishvili told The Messenger, "there is no need at all to hold any kind of opinion poll in the present situation. Polling is only interesting when the forces involved in the election have the same chance and there is public interest in which might have a bit better chance of winning. In the present political situation polls create quite a negative response as everyone knows that the parties do not have the same chance. Bringing Edison Research in is an inappropriate use of money by the present Government,” Khutsishvili said.