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Georgian Dream marginalizes latest NDI survey results

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 28
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) released the political part of its survey on August 27. The survey reads that the Georgian Dream coalition remains the country’s dominant political force and its leaders continue to be popular, with 42 percent of citizens identifying the coalition as the party closest to them. However, there was a significant drop in the individual favorability ratings of almost all political figures, in a recent poll conducted by the NDI in Georgia. The survey reveals that the President of Georgia Margvelashvili is more liked (48%) than the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili (42%). The most disliked political figure was former President Mikheil Saakashvili; only 22% approved of him.

Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania is the most popular political figure with a 60 percent approval rating. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is the next most popular leader, with an approval rating of 54 percent, followed by the Speaker of the Parliament, David Usupashvili, with an approval rating of 51 percent.

The most popular opposition leader is the Parliamentary Minority Leader David Bakradze, who is tied at 48 percent with the President, Giorgi Margvelashvili. The most popular female politician is Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani with a 44 percent approval rating. The newly elected mayor of Tbilisi, David Narmania, received a nationwide favorability rating of 45 percent.

Fifty-one percent consider the United National Movement (UNM) as the strongest opposition party; followed by the Nino Burjanadze-United Opposition coalition and the Alliance for Patriotic Georgia party, at 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

When asked about expectations of their majoritarian Member of Parliament, 50 percent of Georgians say they will do what the party wants them to do, while only 35 percent opposes the vision.

“It is notable that more than half of the electorate is unfamiliar with the MPs meant to represent its interests,” said Kristina Wilfore, NDI’s Interim Country Director in Georgia, “There is a need for elected officials to reconnect with their constituents by focusing on the important national and local issues identified by Georgians themselves,” she said.

The results reflect data collected from July 23 through Aug. 7 in face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgian speakers that included 3,338 completed interviews.

Member of the United National Movement, Goka Gabashvili, states that the party is trying to increase its rating. He emphasized that the rating of the current government is constantly decreasing due to its failure in socioeconomic and crime-fighting fields.

Vice-Premier Kakhi Kaladze stated that he did not trust the NDI survey. He stressed that the outcome of the local elections held in 2014 illustrated that the Georgian Dream coalition is a highly supported political party in the country.

Ambassador of the United States to Georgia Richard Norland said that NDI is a much respected American NGO that has spent years working in Georgia.

“I think these numbers are part of a normal democratic discussion in a country like Georgia. Of course, there will be different interpretations of the results,” Norland said.