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NDI: Most Georgians remain politically undecided

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, April 14
After releasing the results of its economic and social survey, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia revealed the results of the political part of their survey, which said that most Georgians are politically undecided and have low trust in Parliament.

The results were published on April 13 and they revealed Georgians’ dissatisfaction in the country’s political institutions. Georgians do not believe that MPs consider citizens’ opinions or take action to solve their problems. The majority (64 percent) believes their MP only represents his or her own interests, while only 24 percent of Georgians describe MPs as representing them.

Moreover, most citizens (70 percent) do not know how to reach their MP, and only 9 percent believe it to be easy to physically access the Parliament building. Only 37 percent of citizens feel Parliament passes legislation on issues that matter to them, while 48 percent disagree.

“According to Georgians, Parliament is falling short on its main responsibility – to represent the needs and interests of citizens. Its members, and even the building itself, are seen as inaccessible to the public,” said NDI Senior Director Laura Thornton.

As for the Ministries, the poll revealed that the Ministry of Labor, Healthcare, and Social Affairs is the most favourable, while the majority of respondents assessed Ministry of Finance badly.

The Georgian Army is also among the favourites. A total of 48% of Georgians assessed it well, while 33% gave a positive assessment to the police. Only 10% of respondents believe that the court system operates well, though 36% gave it an average assessment.

According to the research, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirkashvili received the highest net-positive evaluation of key leaders, with 27 percent assessing his performance as good, 42 percent as average, and only 6 percent as poor. Meanwhile, 66% believe that former Prime Minister and the founder of the current ruling Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, remains the main decision-maker in the country; 56 % think that Ivanishvili should not be engaged in any political decision-making process.

Moreover, the majority of Georgians (61 percent) remain undecided about their political alignment, including half of likely voters. When asked which party is closest to them, 16% of respondents chose Georgian Dream, 15 % United National Movement (UNM), 9% Free Democrats(FD), 5% Labor Party, and 5% Alliance of Patriots of Georgia. If elections were held tomorrow, 15 % say they would vote for the Georgian Dream Coalition, 13 % for the UNM, 6 percent for FD, 4% for the Labor Party, and 3% for the Alliance of Patriots.

“As shown in our polls over the past year, the electoral playing field is still wide open and no party is ahead in Georgia. They are dissatisfied with and disappointed in the country’s political leaders, saying they do not represent them and are not accessible to them,” Laura Thornton stated.

The majority believes that the research of the NDI is now inaccurate,because the Republicans and the Patriots Alliance left the GD coalition after the research was conducted.

According to Giorgi Volski, the leader of the Georgian Dream faction, the surveys of NDI should not be considered as realistic.

“The NDI's image has been seriously stained due to the fact that the organization has been linked to the United National Movement party for years,” said Volski.

The UNM party is positive about the results. They say their rating has significantly improved and are sure that GD will lose the elections.

According to experts, for the first time the upcoming elections will be very competitive.

Political expert Gia Khukhashvili believes that the main problem is that most voters do not have a favorite party.

“The fact is that the former and current leading parties are left in a minority. In case the election turnout increases, we will get a multiparty system,” the expert said.

The results of NDI research reflect data collected from February 23 to March 14 through face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of citizens of Georgia that included 3,900 completed interviews.