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Poll Shows Disapproval of Increasing Seats in Parliament
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Oct.'11 / 15:10

60% of respondents are against of an idea to increase number of seats in the next Parliament from current 150 to 190, according to a recent public opinion survey released on Monday.

According to the poll carried out by Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) in September, only 8% of respondents said they were in favor of this proposal, which is part of an electoral system reform deal reached between a ruling party and several opposition parties in June.

The survey show that public awareness about that electoral reform deal itself is low with 58% of respondents saying they are not aware of the fact that such deal has been reached.

In 2003 referendum Georgian voters supported reduction of number of PMs to 150; but in one of the most controversial parts of the June electoral system reform deal, the seats in the parliament to be elected next year should increase. Opponents of the decision say that the move would come in conflict with the law as only a new referendum can overturn the result of the previous referendum.

In the same survey respondents were asked if they agree with building of a new parliament building in Kutaisi with 51% of them responding positively and 28% - negatively.

Some Other Key Findings

The survey showed that the trend of declining number of those who identify territorial integrity as the top issue continued in recent six months from 38% in similar survey in March 2011 to 31% in September. The figure stood at 45% in July, 2010 and at 49% in December 2009.

Unemployment and rising prices top the list of respondents concerns, according to the survey.

The recent survey, unlike the previous one in March, does not include a question to respondents whether Georgia is moving in right or wrong direction.

In marked change over the previous similar polls, asked whether Georgia is a democracy now, 45% said yes and 39% - no. 44% responded negatively and 39% - positively when asked the same question in the similar survey in March, 2011.

“Economic issues remain the primary concern and focus of Georgian citizens. While Georgians have a more optimistic view of democratic progress, they want increased accountability from their government,” Luis Navarro, NDI country director in Georgia, said while presenting the survey results on October 10.

Foreign Policy

Support towards government’s stated goal to join NATO remains high with 74%. The same is about Georgia’s EU membership

Government's state goal to join NATO and EU is supported by 74% and 76% of respondents, respectively.

46% of respondents either fully or partially disapprove Georgia’s currently policy towards Russia. The figure stood at 49% in March and at up to 60% in July, 2010.
 
63% of respondents say Russia's current policy poses threat to Georgia's sovereignty.

The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3% and in which over 2,400 respondents were interviewed, was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

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