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IRI Poll Finds Continued Support in Kyrgyz Republic for Economic Developments, Less Satisfaction with Political Developments

June 28, 2007

Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic – An IRI poll conducted in May by the Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys found that 52 percent of Kyrgyz citizens believe the country is headed in the right direction.  But support for the government was down in key areas compared to a similar poll six months ago.

Respondents cited improvements on the household level, with 47 percent saying their financial situation had improved in the last 12 months.  The number of people saying their financial situation has improved has doubled in the last two years.  More than 40 percent of people say the economy has improved in the last 12 months.

Though a majority is still satisfied with the direction in which the country is headed, that number is down 10 percent from October 2006.  People are also less satisfied with the way democracy is developing, with 48 percent saying they are satisfied, a drop of eight percent compared to October 2006.  Figures on corruption continued to climb, with 64 percent assessing the level of corruption in the country as high. Forty-seven percent say that corruption has increased after the change in power in March 2005, a jump of 11 percent since October 2006.

After more than two years of frequent street protests, citizens are less supportive of legal demonstrations (58 percent in May compared to 76 percent in October) and less politically tolerant, with just over 50 percent supporting an active opposition, down from nearly 80 percent two years ago.

The poll revealed disinterest in politics and lack of knowledge of political parties at a time when political parties will be granted new powers under a revised constitution.  Only two percent of citizens are members of political parties.  When asked why they aren’t members, more than 60 percent cited a lack of interest in politics.  When asked which political party they would vote for if elections were held next week, 82 percent of respondents said they don’t know or said they wouldn’t vote for any party.

The top problems of Kyrgyz citizens remain unemployment, economic development and corruption. People in the south and rural residents are much more optimistic about the political and economic situation than northern residents and urban dwellers.  While 76 percent of people living in the south say the country is headed in the right direction, just 29 percent in the north feel likewise.

The nationwide representative poll was conducted by The Gallup Organization/Baltic Survey in coordination with SIAR-Bishkek.  From May 6-23, 2007, 1,500 people were interviewed in all regions of the Kyrgyz Republic.  The margin of error does not exceed +/- three percent.  The response rate was 67 percent.

Baltic Surveys is the Vilnius, Lithuania, office of The Gallup Organization (U.S.).  It was established in 1992 as the first independent private public opinion and market research company in Lithuania.