Thursday, April 15, 2021

IRI research in the mirror of political crisis

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Gone, possible going, caught

The list of public figures or politicians who enjoy the full or certain goodwill of the respondents in public opinion polls is led by the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II (89%). The other 9 places in the top ten are occupied by politicians: 4 – from the opposition and 5 – from the “Georgian Dream”. In the survey of respondents, both indicators of goodwill and negative attitude towards them were traditionally recorded.

  • Giorgi Gakharia – 65%; Negative rate – 30%;
  • Kakha Kaladze – 54%; Negative rate – 39%;
  • David Baqradze – 52%; Negative rate – 37%;
  • Nika Melia – 42%; Negative rate – 48%;
  • Bidzina Ivanishvili – 40%; Negative rate – 53%;
  • Giorgi Vashadze – 39%; Negative rate – 49%;
  • David Usupashvili – 36%; Negative rate – 47%;
  • Archil Talakvadze – 33%; Negative rate – 49%;
  • Irakli Kobakhidze – 33%; Negative rate – 55%.

The opposition believes that the 65% positive result of the survey is largely due to the fact that Giorgi Gakharia was the first person in the country during the poll and was a prominent figure in the government; And if the same research had been done today – we might have seen a lower rate along the surname of the ex-premier. Oppositionists are talking about the questions that they think the public has about Giorgi Gakharia, already as a politician out of power, and the main question is related to the bloody events of June 20.

Former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned on February 18 and announced his intention to remain in politics on March 22. The IRI survey was conducted from February 2 to 26, and accordingly, Gakharia had already resigned from the post last week.

According to experts, Gakharia’s rating is primarily a puzzle of the current Georgian Dream team, because by agreement or disagreement, the ex-premier, in case of activation in politics, will take away the votes of his former teammates.

The question arises – on whom does the “Georgian Dream” rely, when the current chairman of the party, Irakli Kobakhidze, occupies the last place in the top ten and at the same time, with a high negative rate of the society (55%)? The Georgian Dream calls the spread information about the replacement of Irakli Kobakhidze with the current Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili provocative and unfounded. Gharibashvili was not named at all in the Republican Institute poll.

Gakharia is followed by the mayor of the capital, Kakha Kaladze (54%) in the rating of benevolence. However, lately, especially after the news about his illness, the question has become more and more relevant – whether he is going to leave the “Georgian Dream” and maybe the post of mayor.

“According to the information in my possession, Kaladze is still thinking whether to stay in the” Georgian Dream “. It will depend on whether or not they will be offered a second term as mayor. According to my information, Kobakhidze’s political team thought that this post should be offered to Zurab Pololikashvili … If Ivanishvili and Gakharia Kaladze follow, “Georgian Dream” will remain silent “ – Ani Mirotadze, former and now representative of “Georgian Dream” tells us.

The Georgian Dream considers the public debate on the future candidacy of the mayor of the capital premature. The media received the same answers from Kaladze himself. He informed the public on April 4 that he had left the clinic and had to be treated at home for some time.

According to the investigation, in the top ten we meet the chairman of the “National Movement”, Nika Melia, who was arrested on February 23, 3 days before the end of the IRI investigation. Many in the opposition are convinced that Melia’s rating would have been much higher had the poll been conducted now.

IRI and NDI surveys are traditionally unreliable for Georgian Dream due to fieldwork questions, and ratings are usually not publicly emphasized by the ruling party. This time the survey draws their attention to questions related to the opposition boycott and early elections.

Opposition boycott, early elections

According to the poll, 60% of citizens do not support the boycott of parliamentary activities by opposition parties, including 42% – “completely” and 18% – “somewhat”.

Did the opposition get a clear message based on the IRI survey that people have a negative attitude towards the boycott and want to see the opposition in parliament?

As one of the leaders of European Georgia, Sergi Kapanadze, told us, there is nothing to like about a boycott and in a normal situation the opposition should really be in the parliament, and a boycott is not a solution, but a way to find a solution.

“The fact that more than half of the respondents want to be seen in the opposition parliament is a normal story. Nor do we want to be in a boycott mode. We want an agreement to be reached and the problems that led to the boycott to be resolved. Then we will enter the parliament and work to change the environment. So, the attitude of the respondents towards the boycott is understandable. “ – Sergi Kapanadze tells Radio Liberty.

Georgian Dream states that the public opinion poll has clearly confirmed the groundlessness of the opposition boycott, and this directly indicates that the people do not support early elections.

“It is excluded when more than 60% of the society does not support boycott and so on. “Supports the opposition to work in parliament. Naturally, at least 60% do not agree with early elections.” – Guram Macharashvili, MP representing the Georgian Dream, said. This view has been echoed by other members of the ruling team in recent days.

However Of the IRI The study asks a separate question about early elections. In this case, the opinions of the respondents are equally divided by 45-45 percent.

The opposition says that when half of the respondents support the snap elections in the months after the elections, this figure indicates at least the need for a plebiscite.

“Public opinion is very clearly divided and half of the voters want early elections in the country. “This shows once again that the polarization in the society is quite high and shows well that our proposal – to hold a plebiscite and the society to decide whether to hold early elections – would be the best solution in this case.” – says one of the leaders of the “National Movement”, Salome Samadashvili.

The opposition considers the elections rigged. Ani Mirotadze believes that most of the opposition-minded voters consider the elections “stolen”.

Respondents’ assessments of the quality of the October 31 elections differ.

Respondents were asked a question When In mind do you have 2020 year Parliamentary Elections, You Do you believe, that Elections was Free, Fair And Transparent?

The study showed the following results:

  • 25% – really (free, fair and transparent);
  • 28% – to some extent (free, fair and transparent);
  • 16% – to some extent (unfree, unfair and opaque);
  • 19% – really (not free, unfair and opaque);
  • 12% – do not know / refuse to answer.

“A large part of the society does not believe that the ‘National Movement’ and the international community are lying, which believes that the elections were not rigged, but met international standards.” – says the representative of the “Georgian Dream”, the first vice-speaker of the parliament Gia Volski.

In the OSCE / ODIHR report, which is considered the most credible guide for the international community, we do not find the highest quality assessment of the October 31, 2020 elections – “free and fair”. According to this conclusion, the elections were held in a competitive environment, with the protection of fundamental freedoms.

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