Washington, DC – An IRI poll (Russian Version) of Kyrgyzstanis found that one year after former President Askar Akayev was forced from power, 52 percent are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with democratic development in their country.  The poll also found that 54 percent feel the country is headed in the right direction, up from 45 percent in April 2005.  Thirty-one percent reported they had seen an improvement in their economic situation in the past year.

Though nearly one in three Kyrgyzstanis say the economy has improved in the past year, the top issues of concern remain unemployment and economic development as well as corruption – virtually unchanged from IRI’s April 2005 poll.  Thirty-six percent of respondents feel corruption had increased significantly in the last year and 49 percent feel it has remained the same.  An example of the challenges facing the government is that 33 percent of respondents feel there have been no achievements, 24 percent could not think of one.

The poll also underscores a division in the population. Southerners and rural residents are much more optimistic about the political and economic situation than northern residents and urban dwellers.  Forty-eight percent of northerners feel the country is headed in the right direction compared to 72 percent of southerners.

As the country prepares for a constitutional referendum to be held by the end of 2006, the poll finds that only 34 percent of respondents are aware of the referendum and 73 percent do not think they are well informed enough to decide on what form of government is most suitable.  These findings reveal a need for intensive voter education on the referendum and the different options that will be on the referendum ballot.

The nationwide poll was conducted by the Gallup Organization/Baltic Survey in coordination with SIAR-Bishkek.  From March 9-28, 2006, 1,500 people were interviewed in all regions of the Kyrgyz Republic. The margin of error does not exceed +/- three percent.

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

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