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Political parties squabble over poll results

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 11
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has published the ratings of Georgian political parties based on a survey carried out throughout the country (2 893 people were interviewed), on April 8. As the exact numbers are unclear due to the confidentiality of the survey, each political party is interpreting the result differently. The survey has become controversial and a source of ambiguity.

According to National Movement representatives, the party got 52% in the survey. Parliament Chairman Davit Bakradze has stated that the NDI survey results are important as it defined the main problems of the population, ‘the survey should be a lesson for the ruling party, as it defines the main challenges of the country – unemployment, inflation and increasing prices, “ Bakradze said. However, their supposed acquisition of 52% of the vote was later denied by the NDI.

Information spread by Our Georgia-Free Democrats, has also been rejected by the institute and the party had to make some explanations regarding the issue. According to initial statements made by the party representatives, 35% of surveyed people supported Our Georgia-Free Democrats, however, based on the latter explanation, “35% support means that 35% of our supporters said they support only our party, “ Vako Avaliani, a spokesman for the party, said. “ As for the question – Who will you vote for if there are parliamentary elections tomorrow? – 8 % of respondents answered they would vote for the Free Democrats.” Avaliani also noted that Irakli Alasania’s (leader of the Free Democrats) rating was just 7% in the NDI survey conducted before the local self-government elections; however Alasania got three times more votes in the actual elections.

The results were dismissed by the National Forum as the leader of the party, Kakha Shartava joked, “Going by our usual performance in these surveys, we are thankful for that 2%. The number is too high for us, as in the earlier polls we had a stable 0.5%, “ Shartava stated and mentioned , “ if the National Movement is leading every public poll, why is the Movement afraid of holding a free election? Based on the surveys they must be the winners.”

New Rights preferred not to publish their results, “to avoid misunderstanding”. Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights said he trusts NDI, but believes that the ratings presented by them are not reflecting the reality as Georgian society is afraid of openly delivering its political views, “ I trust NDI, but considering the fear among society the rating is not true.”

Distrust has also been shown by the Georgian Party, regarding the results, they could not find themselves in the rating at all, “the owner of all polling companies in Georgia is Mikheil Saakashvili and the National Movement. How can one believe in their results? “ Erosi Kintsmarishvilli, one of the leaders of the Party, said.

As for the Parliamentary minority, Christian-Democratic Movement, they did not list their results, however seemed happy with the outcome of the survey, ”we hold second position in the survey and we the Christian Democrats are a leading party among the oppositional factions according to the survey. The Labour Party which takes the third position has got half the percentage indicator compared to us, “Giorgi Targamadze, the Movement leader, said.

Based on the information spread by Georgian online media IPN, “we have managed to get exact numbers on several questions of the survey. On the question, for which political party would you vote, if the parliamentary elections are held tomorrow, the response was: National Movement- 48%; Christian-Democrats-9%, Labour Party-5% and Our Georgia Free Democrats-3%. On the question to which candidate will you vote for at the next presidential elections, the result is: the candidate of National Movement-33%; Giorgi Targamadze-14%; Irakli Alasania-7%, Shalva Natelashvili( leader of Labour Party) – 6%, Nino Burjanadze( leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia) and Gubaz Sanikidze( leader of National Forum)-2-2%.“