Psychoproject’s exit poll as an illegal donation
On 28 October, after the polling stations were closed, Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chairman of the Parliament and one of the leaders of Georgian Dream, informed the public about the results of the exit poll conducted by the Psychoproject Research Centre, according to which Salome Zurabishvili won the presidential elections in the very first round. Georgian Dream published the results of several similar public opinion polls in the run-up to the elections, too. Since the ruling party does not have its own presidential candidate, we believe, commissioning opinion polls, which measure the approval rating of independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili, is a donation made to her. The Georgian legislation prohibits one party/election subject from accepting donations from another, the penalty for such actions being a fine in the double amount of the donation in question.
It is noteworthy that Psychoproject’s study was commissioned by the Georgian Dream directly, unlike the previous practice of a TV station or a subject participating in the elections commissioning such a study, as their legitimate interest in exit poll results, is clear and raises no questions.
In addition, there was a high concentration of coordinators supporting Salome Zurabishvili outside polling stations on the Election Day. Communication with them revealed that they were representatives of Georgian Dream. Since the financial declarations submitted by Salome Zurabishvili up to this point do not show any significant expenses in either remuneration or corresponding services lines, a suspicion arises that the coordinators were paid by Georgian Dream, which could also represent an illegal donation received by Salome Zurabishvili.
We call on:
- State Audit Office – to examine these cases and respond to them accordingly as soon as possible;
- Georgian Dream and Salome Zurabishvili – to refrain from the cooperation that could be unlawful, and to provide the public with information about the two kinds of expenses mentioned above.