Georgian church more trusted than parliament, president and PM together
Who do Georgia’s citizens trust? What do they think about corruption, the country’s drug policies and the Afgan Mukhtarli case? JAMnews brings together the results of surveys requested by Transparency International – Georgia.
Corruption – is it real or not?
Of those surveyed, 99% said that over the last 12 months neither they nor members of their family were forced to give bribes. However, 36% said they believe that Georgian officials and state servants abuse their official positions to further their own businesses.
Who does the nation trust?
The parliament is the least trusted of all with a trust level of just 17%. The courts follow at 20%. The media is also at the bottom of the list. Around 60% of those surveyed said that they have a clear attitude towards the media – they either trust it or they don’t.
The most trusted institution turned out to be the Georgian Orthodox Church. Teachers (65%), doctors (50%) and the police (36%) turned out to be the most trusted figures among the public, while 32% said that they trust local governing bodies.
The Georgian president, who has minimum rights as per the constitution, is more trusted (47%) than the prime minister (27%).
INFO: The survey was conducted in March. The survey results were not influenced by the incident involving the president pardoning a criminal who had been convicted for domestic violence and who was later arrested after killing his step-daughter.
The survey also did not include questions concerning the informal rule of Bidzina Ivanishvili who, several days ago, announced that he would be returning to politics to head up the ruling party.
Politicised state institutions ruled by the governing party
The majority of the population believes that all high-profile government institutions carry out the orders of the ruling party and serve its interests.
Around 58% of those questioned say that the court system has been ‘privatised’, while 51% say that it is completely under the control of the ruling party. Those surveyed also believe that the ruling Georgian Dream party controls the prosecutor’s office (57%), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (55%) and the State Security Service (55%).
Should drug users be sent to prison?
The survey results show that people believe that the old practice of planting drugs on citizens is still practiced by the police as before. The majority (45%) said that the police actively use this method to detain citizens, while 36% said they had no problems with public searches of citizens on the street or in their vehicles, nor drug testing. Only 18% said that they believed that these searches were unjustified.
The majority of the respondents (72%) believe that the use of marijuana should not be punishable by law. Around 56% said that those who use club drugs (MDMA, ecstasy and so on) should not be arrested, while 36% say that those who use narcotics should be imprisoned.
The attitude towards those who make use of intravenous drugs (such as morphine and heroin) was ambivalent. Around 53% said they should go to prison while 46% had another opinion.
What happened to Afgan Mukhtarli?
One of the questions in the Transparency International – Georgia survey concerned the fate of Azerbaijani opposition journalist Afgan Mukhtarli who disappeared last year from the center of Tbilisi and who ended up in an Azerbaijani prison several days later with a slew of charges against him.
About 36% of those surveyed did not give their opinion. Around 18% believe that Mukhtarli was captured and transferred to the Azerbaijani side by Georgian special units, while 15% said that the operation was carried out by Azerbaijani special units with the help of the Georgian side. The official Azerbaijani story is that Mukhtarli crossed the Georgian-Azerbaijani border voluntarily, and only 6% of those questioned said they believed this version of events.
The survey was requested by Transparency International – Georgia and carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Centre from 3-28 March 2018. A total of 1 843 respondents were questioned across Georgia. The margin of error is 2.8%.