A new public opinion poll, commissioned by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and released on 7 November, reveals that much of the Georgian public believes the country is heading in the wrong direction, is concerned with the state of the economy, and is skeptical about Georgia receiving EU candidate status in 2023.
- 08/11/2022 – IRI Poll Shows Pessimism Among Population
Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by politicians in response to the IRI-commissioned public opinion poll:
Georgian Dream Responds
Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairperson of the party, emphasized, that the results of the study were “simply sociological manipulations” and took issue with the fact that the study “never publishes party rankings by allocation.” He claimed that by not publishing party rankings by allocation, the study’s authors tried to obscure actual support for the Georgian Dream among respondents who seemed undecided towards any political party.
Gia Volski, the First Vice-Speaker of Parliament, stated, “The ruling party has twice as much trust and support in society as even the entire set of radical parties. This is known to us, as well as a number of problems that concern our country and are revealed by various studies… I think society accurately assesses each party’s merit in relation to the country and expresses its position accordingly. However, there are many who do not support any party and respond to the challenges facing the country by expressing distrust towards the parties.”
Giorgi Tsagareishvili remarked, “Even IRI could not hide the current situation in the country, especially regarding the opposition, that the government has such a high rating that [it is the same] as the entire Georgian so-called opposition taken together, which is striking. Also striking is the percentage of our population, respondents who say that they don’t trust the party system, they don’t trust parties in general, and they want new forces, and new faces to appear in Georgian politics. I think in this sense the ball is in the opposition’s court… We should also be self-critical, we should take care of new ideas, [and] new faces.”
Levan Bejashvili, of the United National Movement, emphasized, “The study shows that 70% of the population is against the current government. Accordingly, in the opposition, there should be many poles, and unions, that will be able to plan and implement actions within the framework of a common strategy… I think that different parties should make separate political poles, the United National Movement has its voters, it has its own challenges, it, as the main opposition party, has other political and electoral tasks to solve. Political parties should find each other in another space.”
Beka Liluashvili, from the For Georgia party, underscored, “This study clearly shows how the ratings of two parties that constantly help and nurture each other have fallen at the same time. Naturally, these are the Georgian Dream and the United National Movement… We will consistently, in accordance with the plan, step by step, end this bi-polarity, the endless conflicts between the [GD] and [UNM], which damages and destroys the future of our homeland.”
Salome Samadashvili, from Lelo for Georgia, emphasized, “I don’t think that anyone now has the opportunity to conclude what the final result of the election will be. Our task both before and after this research is to strengthen ourselves as a party. From this point of view, I cannot say that the presented research showed us something new. We know where the potential is for us to grow as a party and we intend to spend our time, resources, and energy on it.”
Paata Manjgaladze, from Strategy Aghmashenebeli, remarked, “The ratings show a trend, we really have no reason to be complacent. The main thing that makes me happy is that 85% unconditionally support European integration, the number of pro-Russian people has decreased… and it’s good that in total the opposition wins over the Georgian Dream and its satellites… The solution is to create a new, national, and European front, which will demand an answer from the Georgian Dream about the crimes they commit every day.”
Giga Bokeria, of European Georgia, stated, “The study clearly shows the dramatic drop in optimism and distrust towards the political process and political parties in general. Therefore, to overcome this impasse that this regime has led the country into, it is necessary to restore this trust and, of course, to increase the number of people who will be firmly in favor of changing the course. A simple majority is not enough to defeat regimes like [Bidzina] Ivanishvili’s.”
Zurab Japaridze, from Girchi – More Freedom, said, “Compared to the previous study we have an increase. If you look at the trend, we are better than we were before. In general, it indicates that there is a very depressed mood in the country, and unfortunately, the Georgian opposition spectrum still cannot reflect the mood that exists among the population. For this, consolidation is necessary, the opposition spectrum must be consolidated so that the anger and desire for change that exists in the Georgian population are translated into the following political actions… The new party can be, among other things, a consolidation of the existing Georgian political spectrum and be formed into a single new political force with a new number, new name… The consolidation of the existing political forces can also give us a new political union and it can also be a new party.”