A movement, established by operatic bass Paata Burchuladze, which is expected to turn into a political party ahead of the October parliamentary elections, emerged not too far behind from GDDG and UNM in a poll commissioned by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and fielded in March.
The survey was fielded by Institute of Polling & Marketing (IPM) on March 12-April 2. GD ruling coalition announced on March 31 that its members (GDDG; Republican Party; Conservative Party; Industrialists, and National Forum) would no longer run under the joint ticket in the upcoming elections.
On a question “if the parties were to participate independent of coalitions, who would you vote for”, 12% named Burchuladze’s Georgian Development Foundation, after Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) – 19%, and United National Movement (UNM) – 18%.
Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats party was named by 11%, followed by Labor Party – 8%; Alliance of Patriots – 4%; Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement – 3%, and Republican Party – 1%.
14% did not know and 9% said they would vote for none of the party.
Burchuladze, whose operatic career spans over 35 years, has launched Georgian Development Foundation late last year. Burchuladze, who has been involved in charity work for children through his Iavnana foundation for over a decade, did not rule out going into politics when he announced about his new foundation in late November.
He has been traveling in the regions, opening there branch offices of his foundation and meeting locals since January in events reminiscent to political campaigning.
Local branches of the movement were opened in more than dozen of localities across the country over the past three months. Burchuladze says that these efforts aim at “elaborating together with people a plan for overcoming the crisis existing in the country.”
While remaining noncommittal about his own political plans, he often speaks about prevailing “hopelessness” among the people and his attempt to “give people glimmer of hope and to get Georgia on right track”. He also speaks about the need of “proper management and governance for the country.” Key members of his movement make frequent televised appearances, commenting on current affairs and criticizing government’s policies as “aimless, passive and inefficient.” Burchuladze has visited Washington D.C. at least twice since March, and his representatives traveled to Brussels for meetings with some MEPs.
IRI-commissioned survey also examines favorability rating of politicians and public figures, where Burchuladze leads with 75%; his unfavorable rating stood at 17%.
He was followed by Healthcare Minister Davit Sergeenko with 64%, whose unfavorable rating was at 26%.
FD opposition party leader Irakli Alasania and President Giorgi Margvelashvili had 60% favorable rating each with their unfavorable rating at 35% each.
PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s favorable rating stood at 56% and unfavorable – 32%. Leader of the UNM parliamentary minority group MP Davit Bakradze’s favorable rating was at 54% and unfavorable – 40%.
70% of surveyed said things in Georgia were going in the “wrong direction”, up from 55% in February, 2015.
1,500 respondents were interviewed in the survey, which was funded by USAID; it has margin of error plus/minus 2.5%.