POLITICS
Some experts don’t trust NDI research
13 October, 2011

Georgian experts doubt the results of research lately carried out by NDI in Georgia. They especially don’t agree with the results describing the mass media in Georgia. According to it among the TV channels the TV of Patriarchate of Georgia is leading with 61%, followed by ‘Imedi’ and ‘Rustavi’ with 25 and 21% correspondingly. Public Broadcaster occupies 4th position. It’s to be noted that all three channels are thought to be the channels of authorities. Expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze declares that methodology

and area of research give rise to some doubts. Ia Antadze, a media expert considers that due to current situation in the country the ground for doubt is real indeed.

Economic problems are so acute in Georgia that even the fundamental question of territorial integrity has moved to the second position. Unemployment and healthcare remain the top issues. Although the number of unemployed persons is not decreasing, a major part of the respondents approve of the Governmental reforms.

These key results of the survey were presented to us by Louise Navarro, Director of the NDI Georgian Office. The survey is funded by Swedish Development Agency and was conducted by the Caucasian Research Resources Center in September. Over 2400 people were interviewed around the country. Representative selection was conducted in five self-governing towns and Telavi area.

Louise Navarro said that three main priorities for the population are jobs, acceptable prices and territorial integrity. The respondents also think that politicians do not properly highlight the first two priorities. Namely, 62% of them names generation of employment opportunities as the number one priority, 42% is most concerned about prices, 31% sees achievement of territorial integrity as the top priority, and 1% is calling for the poverty cutback above all. Most of the surveyed persons think that situation regarding prices, poverty, availability of medical services and relations with Russia have actually worsened since 2008; while situation with pensions, education and corruption has improved.

Compared to the previous survey, the material condition of 8% of respondents and their families has actually improved since 2008. However, as much as half of the respondents state that their living conditions did not change.

Majority of surveyed population names economic reforms as most important. After that come tax, agricultural and educational reforms. Yet, they do not know which reform needs to be undertaken during the next six months.

Interestingly, only 55% of respondents has heard of the agreement negotiated between the Authorities and certain opposition parties on the election code. Moreover, only 22% of respondents are informed about the idea of the agreement.

60% of the respondents do not support possible increase of Parliamentary seats from current 150 members up to 190. The rest is mostly undecided. Only 8% gives its hand to the idea.

Most of the respondents are sure that their respective majoritarian MPs would do whatever the party asks. Over 2/3 of surveyed people would vote for women MPs. Majority of the respondents backs the transfer of the Parliament to Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia.

Regarding foreign affairs, most of the interviewed population does not accept current policy of the Authorities towards Russia. However, they welcome particular Governmental initiatives. A better part of respondents thinks that the current policy of Russia towards Georgia threatens the sovereignty of Georgia. Namely, 22% says that Russian policy is absolutely unacceptable for them, while 24% cannot put up with it partially.

76% of respondents support the EU membership aspiration of Georgian Government. Almost the same portion – 74% approves of Georgia’s NATO membership bid. However, the request of Georgia to the West to help boost Georgian military defense capacity received 61%. Still, only 9% dislikes the request.

The survey delved into the media issue also. Among the TV channels, that of the Georgian Patriarchate tops the list with 61% of interviewed people, giving to it their unequivocal trust. Most of the respondents believe that the national channels express the Governmental opinions, while the rest of the channels are opposition-inclined.

It must be noted that the rating of political parties have not been published. As Louise Navarro stated, this part of the survey results would be ready in few days but they would not be revealed to the public anyway.

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