The messenger logo

NDI Poll: 55% blame government for June 20 violence

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Friday, September 20
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC-Georgia released the results of a political poll, according to which, Georgians believe that the country is moving towards a wrong direction; they assess government performance as poor and also hold the government responsible for violence in June and believe it used ‘excessive force’ against the protestors.

The results show that 60 percent of Georgians evaluate the current government’s performance as “bad.” According to the report, negative assessments towards the new Prime Minister, Giorgi Gakharia, President, Salome Zourabichvili, parliament and courts are increasing.

Also, the main public institutions, the Georgian Church and public service halls continue to enjoy the most favorable evaluations, with 64 percent and 57 percent positive assessment, respectively. Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze's activities continue to have a net positive assessment.

According to Laura Thornton, NDI senior director, “there has been a decline in the perceived performance of the government over the past year, likely linked to citizens.”

“As our poll presentations on Tuesday showed, Georgians hold the government responsible for their economic well-being,” noted NDI senior director.

Also, according to the report, most of the people do not know who they would vote for if the elections were to be held tomorrow. As the results read, 20 percent say that they would vote for the ruling Georgian Dream party. 9 percent for the United National Movement (UNM), 4 percent for the Alliance of Patriots and the other 4 percent say that they would vote for the European Georgia – Free Democrats.

The report reads that the vast majority of Georgians, 92 percent, are aware of the demonstrations on June 20, and, in an open-ended question, 55 percent place responsibility for the violence on government generally, of which 43 percent blames the government for the events of the night. 9 percent puts the responsibility on then-Interior Minister Gakharia, and only 1-1 percent think that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and police have to take responsibility for the events. Also, Eight percent of citizens blame UNM for violence on June 20.

On the dispersal of the night, those who said that they were aware of the events of June 20, 68 percent said that they believe the government used “excessive force” to disperse protestors. Of those, 71 percent do not believe adequate action was taken to hold those responsible.

However, the public is mixed about demands for Gakharia’s resignation, with 46 percent of those who were aware of June 20th events agreeing he should, and 39 percent disagreeing.

According to Thornton, “the Georgian public is not satisfied with the handling of events on June 20, and hold the government largely responsible.”

“It is essential that the government take swift action to hold those who committed acts of violence against protestors accountable, and to build the trust of citizens in the government’s ability to peacefully manage protests in the future,” noted the NDI senior director.

NDI surveys public opinion to help Georgian stakeholders diagnose and address issues of public concern by providing accurate, unbiased and statistically-sound data. NDI surveys public opinion in Georgia since 2010.