Hargeisa, Somaliland – Two polls conducted by IRI indicate that a majority of Somalilanders are content with the direction of the nation and optimistic about its future.  The surveys, conducted in Baki and Salaxley districts, show that citizens credit their general confidence to the work of the president and parliament. 

Relatedly, 75 percent of respondents in Salaxley and 50 percent in Baki reported that their family’s economic situation had improved within the last year.  Ninety-two percent and 86 percent, respectively, expect their economic situation to improve within the next year.  Highlighting views of improved security throughout the country, 97 percent of respondents in both districts reported feeling very or somewhat safe in the area in which they live.

Despite crediting the government for the nation’s economic and security improvements, respondents were critical of the national government’s failure to meet the needs of everyday Somalilanders.  Seventy-seven percent of respondents in Baki and 60 percent in Salaxley reported the national government as being somewhat or strongly out of touch with the needs of the people.  Similarly, more than 73 percent of respondents in both districts stated that the government was doing a poor job of creating jobs.

Citizens’ opinions of their elected officials were relatively consistent throughout both districts.  The President (92 percent/Salaxley, 73 percent/Baki) and Parliament (77 percent/Salaxley, 58 percent/Baki) received high favorability ratings in both districts.  Respondents’ opinions of their representatives paled in comparison to their religious leaders, however.  Ninety-seven percent of respondents in Salaxley and 90 percent in Baki reported having a favorable or very favorable opinion of their spiritual leaders.

Somalilanders also reported having favorable views of political parties.  In both districts, a plurality of respondents (75 percent/Salaxley, 69 percent/Baki) agreed that Somaliland’s three political parties – UCID (Justice and Welfare Party), Kulmiye and Waddani – discuss issues and priorities that closely match those of the people.
The district-wide surveys, fielded June 29 – July 4, 2013, were conducted by Data and Research Solutions, a survey research company located in Hargeisa, Somaliland.  Questionnaire design, sample design, data analysis and project supervision was performed by Chesapeake Beach Consulting, an international opinion research and consulting firm.  The poll sampled 496 and 501 eligible voters in Baki and Salaxley districts, respectively.  The survey was administered through face-to-face interviews in Somali.  Margin of error did not exceed +/- 4.5 percent.

Baki and Salaxley districts are located in different regions – Awdal and Maroodi-Jeeh, respectively – and are roughly the same size (population circa 40,000).  Moreover, both districts are dominated by one clan which minimizes the risk of debilitating inter-clan power struggles.  Similar districts considered by IRI were deemed too dangerous due to clan instability and/or the presence of al-Shabaab operatives.

A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law.  The Institute has worked in Somaliland since 2002.

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