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Who benefits from IRI poll?01.04.2010 | 17:04
Recently Georgian media disseminated first pre-election ratings made by International Republican Institute and financed by US Agency for International Development. According to the results in all cases Georgia's ruling party and its leader Mikheil Saakashvili are ranked first. The opposition hasn't left the survey results unnoticed. Part of the objectors doubt truthfulness of presented figures.
According to the poll Georgia's dominant United National Movement will gain 36% of votes at May 30 election. The next position in the rating is granted to Christian Democrats with 10% of votes, then comes Labor Party - 8% followed by Irakli Alasania's Alliance for Georgia, Irakli Okruashvili's Movement For United Georgia, Nino Burdzhanadze's Democratic Movement - United Georgia and the National Democratic party. Over one third of the respondents refused to name a party they will vote for at the local elections on May 30.
According to the majority of respondents, Mikheil Saakashvili and his party will cope with the "Russian aggression" better than others - and 33% of respondents confirm that. 10% of respondents believe that Irakli Alasania will be more efficient here, while 9% prefer Labor party leader Shalva Natelashvili.
34% of respondents pointed at Mikheil Saakashvili in reply to the question who will be the fastest and most efficient to take the country out of the crisis. 9% named Shalva Natelashvili, 8% favor Irakli Alasania.
The opposition has already commented on the poll results: the assessments are different.
According to Tamar Tsintsadabze, a member of Democratic Movement - United Georgia's general council she and her colleagues don't doubt impartiality of the report believing though that any poll undertaken in Georgia now can't reflect the real situation. "People are intimidated and they don't say what they think" - her words are quoted by Georgian media. - One of these days we will promulgate the results of the poll we have carried out".
The Labor party has no trust in the poll results saying that the data are falsified. The party's international secretary Nestan Kirtadze is sure that the Labor Party is a "no-alternative leader" among political parties which, as she believes, is confirmed by objective sociological research.
For Irakli Alasania, Alliance for Georgia leader it's people's opinion that matters. "For me it's most important to meet with people and see their concerns. I make my own rating considering relations with people. Elections will show that", - the oppositionist remarked.
Finally, the National Democrats say that the poll results only confirm lack of democracy in the country that affects development of political parties without doubting IRI's reputation. "The opposition must reconsider their tactics that by all appearances is not going the right way", - Bachuka Kardava, the leader, is quoted on GHN.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked representatives of other opposition forces in Georgia to assess IRI poll results
Petre Mamradze, a leader of Movement for Fair Georgia
-I would like to emphasize that I have not the slightest doubt over IRI's bona fide and high employee qualifications. I know these people and I trust them. But analyzing the poll results we must understand that all this time major TV channels are under total control of the authorities and people get over 90% of information from TV. It is also important that IRI polls were held before March 13, before that crazy show on Imedi. After that story I spoke to various people who said: "How much longer must we stand this lunatic?" To which I replied: "For as long as we will decide for ourselves".
The thing is that when some people come to the country's citizens this is what they hear in reply: "I will vote for Ugulava (current Tbilisi mayor - A.G.) and so on. This is a fear syndrome. People are really scared. In moments like these our citizens start using self-censorship most actively since no one wants to be fired.
But I won't have mercy on the opposition which is weak. The opposition went through lots of squabbles and reproaches. Our people don't like that quite naturally.
I should also note that important results of IRI's other poll have not been published with 78% of respondents favoring restoration of relations with Russia. Most part of the population believes the authorities must tackle it, not separate political parties. But our authorities deliberately refuse to do that. They are at war with Russia.
-Will the story shown on Imedi affect local election results with people voting for the opposition after all?
-It's hard to say. Georgia's administrative resource is great. State structures are planted throughout the republic. The role of security officials and prosecutor's offices is great. By the way, not long ago Amnesty International revealed information on over threefold increase in financing for municipal institutions in order to employ new people meant to take part in agitation process. That is why let's not be overoptimistic forecasting May elections.