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Exit poll confirms promised 60 percent

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 31
According to the preliminary results of exit polls released by Edison Research immediately after the polls closed, ruling National Movement candidates received the majority of votes in both the Tbilisi Mayoral elections and Tbilisi City Council elections. The poll was conducted until 4 pm in 72 election precincts in the capital city, although the polls closed at 8 pm, 10,000 voters being asked who they had voted for as they left the polling stations.

The preliminary results gave 61 percent of the vote at the Mayoral elections to National Movement candidate Gigi Ugulava. Irakli Alasania from the Alliance of Georgia had 17 percent, Giorgi Chanturia of the Christian Democratic Movement 10 percent, National Council candidate Zviad Dzidziguri 6 percent and Gogi Topadze from Industry Will Save Georgia 5 percent. The other candidates, Tamaz Vashadze of Solidarity, Davit Iakobidze, from the Tortladze-Democratic Party, Nika Ivanishvili of the Public Democrats and Giorgi Laghidze of Future Georgia would receive 1 percent each, Edison Research said.

The concurrent Tbilisi City Council election exit poll conducted by Edison Research gave the National Movement 60 percent of the vote. The Alliance for Georgia had 16 percent, the Christian-Democratic Movement 10 percent, the National Council 7 percent and Industry Will Save Georgia 5 percent.

Research Company GfK also released an exit poll conducted in 50 election precincts with a sample of 5,000 voters. This suggested that Gigi Ugulava had received 60 percent of the vote, Irakli Alasania 18 percent, Giorgi Chanturia 7 percent, Zviad Dzidziguri also 7 percent and Gogi Topadze 4 percent. The other candidates would receive less than 1 percent each. As for the City Council elections, Gfk survey had the National Movement leading with 58 percent, followed by the Christian-Democratic Movement with 18 percent, Alliance for Georgia with 17 percent, National Council with 6.9 percent and Industry Will Save Georgia with 4 percent.

The opposition were not satisfied with these preliminary results, saying they would wait for the final official ones. The Alliance for Georgia said that it was not sure if the exit polls reflected the real result. “National Movement representatives told the interviewers who their supporters were and that is why we have got such results. They took away the exit polls questionnaires, filled them in themselves and gave them back to the interviewers,” spokesman of the Alliance for Georgia Irakli Chikovani told journalists. “It is better to wait for the CEC results,” Chikovani added.

Mayoral candidate Nika Ivanishvili did not trust the preliminary results either and said that he would make a substantive statement after the final results were released. Ivanishvili said that many violations had occurred, including obvious merry-go-rounds conducted by the National Movement, voters being pressurised and serious violations of other kinds at certain polling stations. He claimed to have photo and video evidence of these.

Leader of the Christian Democrats Giorgi Targamadze said that the exit polls did not reflect reality and the final results will be known when the votes are counted, including those in the regions. He said that people are scared of expressing their own opinion to pollsters and the results demonstrate this. However CDM Mayoral candidate Giorgi Chanturia congratulated Gigi Ugulava on his victory, an unusual step by a losing candidate in current Georgian politics.

National Movement supporters greeted the exit poll results with great applause. MP Giorgi Gabashvili said that the final result would be the official one but the exit polls showed how much support the ruling party had gained from people.

1,432,897 voters had turned out at polling stations by 5pm, 40.42% of total number of registered voters, 3,544,770, the Central Election Commission (CEC) reported. 392,688 voters had turned out at polling stations in Tbilisi by that time, 40% of the capital’s 981,505 registered voters.

Several National Movement representatives predicted during the campaign that the ruling party would ultimately receive around 60 percent of the votes at yesterday's elections.