Parliamentary elections in Georgia: voters at a crossroads

Georgians to vote in parliamentary elections

Parliamentary elections in Georgia: voters at a crossroads

The results of the latest NDI poll do not yet allow predicting the outcome of the October elections

The results of the parliamentary vote in Georgia in October will depend on the choice made by 57% of voters who have not yet decided on their political sympathies. This was stated by Laura Thornton, head of the Georgian office of the American non-governmental organization – National Democratic Institute (NDI), presenting the political part of the NDI study conducted throughout Georgia from June 8 to July 6.

“Most of the residents of Georgia want to take part in the upcoming elections, but have not yet decided who to vote for, as a result, it is impossible to predict the results of the elections. The approval rating of each of the political parties is so low that at this stage it is impossible to rely on these indicators in order to predict the outcome of the upcoming elections, “Thornton told Georgian media on July 29..

According to a June NDI poll, 67% of Georgia’s population intends to go to polling stations if elections were held tomorrow, while 33% of those surveyed said they would most likely abstain from voting. At the same time, 33% of those 67% who intend to go to the polls know who they will vote for.

Making a choice in favor of the political force that is “closest in views”, 19% of the NDI poll participants named the ruling party “Georgian Dream” (in March – 16%, in November last year – 18%, and in August – 14%). while the party of ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) was named by 15% of respondents (in March – 15%, in November 2015 – 14%, and in August – 13%). At the same time, 27% of NDI respondents said in June that they have nothing in common with any of the current political parties..

When asked “If parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?”, 13% (in March also – 13%, in November last year – 10%) of the NDI poll participants named Saakashvili’s UNM party, which is a minority in Georgian parliament, and 17% – the ruling Georgian Dream (in March – 15%, in November last year – 16%). The State for the People party, recently created by opera tenor and philanthropist Paata Burchuladze, was named by 4% of respondents, and 3% of respondents expressed their readiness to vote for the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, a party that the parliamentary opposition considers “pro-Russian”.

It is noteworthy that in order to get into the parliament of Georgia, a party must overcome the 5% barrier.

38% of NDI respondents said they did not know who they would vote for if the elections were held tomorrow. 5% said they would not support any of the parties in the elections. Refused to answer 14% of respondents.
As for the question “Which party would you never vote for?”, 21% of NDI respondents named Saakashvili’s party, and 19% – the ruling coalition. At the same time, 21% of respondents did not have an answer to this question..

According to the results of the NDI survey, the most important issues determining the political choice of Georgian voters are the economic policy of parties (41%), health policy (14%), the position of parties on issues of national security (11%), the rule of law (9%), foreign policy of the country. (8%).

Politicians’ assessments

Traditionally, some Georgian politicians, including the ruling party, took the NDI poll results lightly, stating that it would be possible to judge the “real” indicators of political sympathies of Georgian citizens only by the results of the parliamentary elections, especially since, as skeptics note, according to NDI, most the population of Georgia has not yet decided on its final choice.

At the same time, the UNM Saakashvili party said that the results of the NDI poll confirm that the ruling party has lost the support of the population and expressed confidence that as the elections approach, their party will be able to attract even more supporters..

“Since a large number of voters have not made a decision, this indicates one thing – these voters will no longer vote for the current government … And the fact that voters have not yet decided to vote for another political force is due to the fact that the election campaign has just begun,” – stated in UNM.

As for the parties, the popularity of which, according to the NDI study, is below 3%, they expressed complete distrust of the National Democratic Institute. The leader of one of these parties – “Democratic Movement – United Georgia”, the former speaker of the parliament under the government of ex-President Mikhail Saakashvili – Nino Burjanadze, whom her former associates consider a pro-Russian politician, told the media that “American special services” deliberately downgrade the rating of her party. The reason is, Nino Burjanadze argues, that she demands “neutral status” for Georgia and renunciation of NATO, since, in her words, this is “the only chance to restore the integrity of Georgia.”.

4 thousand 113 people took part in the June NDI poll. This is the last poll that the US National Democratic Institute publishes in Georgia prior to the parliamentary elections on October 8..

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