IRI Poll Finds Strong Support in Kyrgyz Republic for Political and Economic Developments

Washington, DC — An IRI poll conducted in October by the Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys found that a year and a half after former President Askar Akaev was forced from power, 62 percent of Kyrgyzstanis believe the country is headed in the right direction, an eight percent increase from a similar poll conducted in March 2006.

Attitudes towards democratic development are also more positive, with 56 percent saying they are satisfied. In economic matters, respondents also noted improvements over the last year, with 41 percent responding that the financial situation of their household had improved and 48 percent saying the economy had improved. Countering these positive assessments were respondents’ continuing concerns about the problem of corruption in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The most important achievements of the new government were free school services and increased pensions and timely payment of salaries. The most serious mistakes were continued instability, corruption and problematic personnel policy. A measure of the effectiveness of the governing authorities was that 64 percent of those polled could mention achievements of the new government compared to just 43 percent in March. Top problems continue to be unemployment, economic development and corruption – unchanged from the spring.

On the question of corruption, six of 10 people polled still perceived the level of corruption in society as high. The number of people who said they had personally faced corruption in government institutions increased to 60 percent, up 14 percent since the spring. When asked what measures could stem corruption, respondents favored stronger enforcement of laws and harsh punishment.

Poll results continue to underscore a division in the population. People in the south and rural residents are much more optimistic about the political and economic situation than northern residents and urban dwellers. While 83 percent of people living in the south say the country is headed in the right direction, just 43 percent in the north feel likewise. In the south, 68 percent see improvement in the economy, while 29 percent in the north find the economy has improved. Bishkek residents are the least optimistic about political and economic developments.

The nationwide poll was conducted by The Gallup Organization/Baltic Survey in coordination with SIAR-Bishkek. From October 7-25, 2006, 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 54 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.

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