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Mixed reaction to IRI survey

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 27
The International Republican Institute’s (IRI) latest survey results have caused mixed reactions among political parties.

IRI polls revealed that the Georgian Dream has a 36% favorability rating, the United National Movement 14%, Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats 10%, Labour party 6%, Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia 5%, and Irma Inashvili’s Georgia’s Patriot Alliance 5%.

The opposition parties trust the survey.

The UNM’s 14% rating seems to make victory unlikely in the 2016 parliamentary elections. However, the rating was welcomed by UNM representatives.

“We have no reason to question the figures,” UNM member Pertre Tsiskarishvili said, noting that IRI is a trustworthy international organization.

The Free Democrats, which participated in the previous elections as one of the parties of the Georgian Dream coalition, are happy with their rating.

“It was the first survey where our rating was considered separately from the coalition. We are satisfied with the outcome. The survey revealed that our party has its own large group of voters, despite the fact that we have just quit the coalition,” member of the Free Democrats Irakli Tchikovani said.

Nino Burjanadze, who enjoyed political relevance at one time, and now chairs the pro-Russian Democratic Movement-United Georgia, had a different take on the polling results.

On the one hand she encouraged her supporters on winning in the 2016 parliamentary elections, and on the other hand, stressed that IRI deliberately decreases her rating.

“These figures are put together in the United States. The US is fighting against my party, as we are trying to be the main opposition in Georgia. We know that our rating is higher than was suggested by IRI,” Burjanadze said.

When it comes to the majority, some members refrained from commenting before the official presentation of the survey on Friday, while others questioned the results.

Majority MP Irakli Sesiashvili stresses that he respects IRI and NDI. However, Georgian Dream members are skeptical of the organization.

Fellow member of the majority Gia Volski believes that the coalition should consider the survey results.

Analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze believes that the survey is politically motivated. He stresses that the formulation of questions in many cases encourages interviewees to make such responses that are in someone’s interests.

“The authors of the survey want to portray that the leading figures of the Georgian Dream do not enjoy high ratings, that is mainly profitable for the UNM,” Sakvarelidze states.

Fellow analyst Valerian Gorgiladze is also skeptical of the survey. According to him, it is unacceptable when only foreign organizations conduct surveys in Georgia.

“It does not happen in any sovereign countries. The survey does not reflect public attitudes, they reflect IRI goals,” Gorgiladze says.