The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 4
GDDG Hires U.S. Lobbying & PR Consultancy Firms

The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party has hired Impact Management Group (IMG) for “lobbyist services” in the United States in the run up to and after the October 8 parliamentary elections in Georgia.

Under a four-month contract, running from August 4 till November 30, Georgia’s ruling party will pay USD 320,000 to IMG, according to filings submitted this month by the firm to the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

For government-relations consultancy, IMG hired a subcontractor, the Alpine Group, a Washington-based lobbying firm, which will receive USD 22,500 in a period between August 29 and October 8, 2016.

For “media relations services”, IMG has a separate subcontract with public relations agency K-Global, which was providing services to the Georgian Dream back in 2012 ahead of the previous parliamentary elections. The subcontract with K-Global, worth USD 10,000, runs from August 29 till October 10, 2016.

According to the contract, IMG will assist GDDG representatives with scheduling meetings with members of the U.S. Congress and “relevant agencies” for the purpose of “educating” them regarding Georgia and upcoming parliamentary elections. IMG will advise GDDG on “communication strategy and assist with placement of news stories with credible news organizations”, coordinate messaging, assist to communicate to Western news organizations, and help “to deliver messages of the party to political leaders in U.S.”

The firm will also provide logistical support for trip of GDDG representatives to the United States and their meetings with Congress members, as well as logistical support for a trip of members of Congress to Georgia, according to the contract.

In April the Georgian government hired law and lobbying firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman to get “advice and assistance on U.S.-Georgia bilateral relation” and in “communicating” with the U.S. administration officials and Congress members. Under one-year contract, the government is paying Pillsbury USD 50,000 per month.

Elections 2016: Imedi TV releases latest public poll

One of Georgia’s leading television broadcasters, Imedi TV, released the results of its most recent poll predicting who will win the October 8 Parliamentary Elections in Georgia.

The poll, commissioned by Imedi TV and conducted by American research firm JPM, revealed the current ruling party will win the elections.

The poll revealed that only two parties will overcome the five percent election threshold – GDDG (who received 32.7 percent voter support in the poll) and opposition United National Movement (who was supported by 12.8 percent polled).

JPM was commissioned to organise the survey while field works were carried out by local research organisation Georgian Opinion Research Business International (Gorbi).

Imedi TV said 1,187 people were surveyed nationwide between September 16-24.

Of the people questioned, 61 percent intended to vote, which was three percent more than an earlier poll conducted by Imedi TV in August, when at this time 41.3 percent of people surveyed refused to answer the question or were undecided who to vote for.

Who will Georgian public vote for in the October 8 Parliamentary Election?

The Imedi TV poll indicated the current ruling party had the most support from voters.

The survey asked people who they will vote for. The results showed:
• Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia – 32.7 %
• United National Movement – 12.8%
• Free Democrats – 3%
• Labour Party – 2.9%
• Alliance of Patriots – 2.2%
• Paata Burchuladze-State for People – 2.1%
• Democratic Movement-United Georgia – 1.7%
• Usupashvili Republicans – 0.7%
• Industrials Party – 0.3%
• National Forum – 0.2%
• Undecided – 41.4 %

The survey asked the 41.4% of undecided voters who they were likely to vote for. The results showed:
• Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia – 42.4%
• United National Movement – 18.8%
• Free Democrats – 5.8%
• Alliance of Patriots – 5.4%
• Labour Party – 4.5%
• Democratic Movement-United Georgia – 3.2%
• Paata Burchuladze-State for People – 3.2%
• Usupashvili Republicans – 0.7%

Imedi TV’s first pre-election survey, conducted by JPM between August 18-27, showed similar results.

The poll showed GDDG and UNM were the only two parties to receive more than 5 percent of votes and overcome the minimum threshold. In this survey GDDG received 30 percent of votes while UNM gained 16 percent.

Also in August a private broadcaster in Georgia, Rustavi2, released results of a survey carried out byGerman-American GFK. The survey was conducted nationwide between August 2-18.

The Rustavi2-commission poll showed four parties could overcome the five percent threshold: GDDG (35.9%), UNM (34.2%), Paata Burchuladze-State for People (9. 8%) and Labour Party (5.4%).

In July, the Georgia branch of the United States National Democratic Institute (NDI-Georgia) released findings of a pre-election survey. The survey was commissioned by NDI and carried out by Caucasus Research Resource Centre (CRRC).

This survey was conducted nationwide through face-to-face interview with 4,113 people.

In these polls 19 percent of respondents said they were likely to vote for GDDG while 14 percent said they were likely to vote for UNM.

Over half of those surveyed (67 percent) said they would vote if elections were held tomorrow, while 57 percent were undecided.

NDI country director Laura Thornton said: "The ratings for each of the individual parties are so low that they cannot be taken as a guide to the outcome of future elections.”

"With 67 percent of Georgians planning to vote and 57 percent undecided, the numbers seen in the final election tallies will look considerably different than the numbers presented in this poll as the results will depend on how these undecided ultimately cast their ballots,” she said in July when the survey was released.

UNM: The 5 October rally will be held a few days before the change of Ivanishvili’s government

“The 5 October rally will be held a few days before the change of Ivanishvili’s government through elections and we hope that the Ministry of Internal Affairs will not do anything stupid,” Giga Bokeria, one of the leaders of the United National Movement, said before entering the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where a meeting is to be held about the security measures to be taken for the planned rally with the Deputy Interior Minister.

Nika Melia, another participant of the meeting, told reporters that they arrived at the Ministry in order to prevent any misunderstanding, as the 5 October rally will apparently be large in scale.

“We will hold a final, large-scale rally in Rose Square where a lot of our supporters will gather. We need to agree some organizational issues in order to avoid any misunderstanding,” he said.