• Friday, April 18, 2014

Bangladesh headed in wrong direction

Finds opinion survey by US-based organisation

Staff Correspondent

Another public opinion survey says that Bangladesh is headed in the wrong direction, and points out political instability, probable escalation of violence and stuttering economy as the main reasons for this.
In the opinion poll, conducted between January 12 and 27 by International Republican Institute (IRI), 59 percent of the respondents say the country is straying from the right direction due to political turmoil, poor economy and frequent strikes.
Thirty five percent respondents, however, think that the country is on the right track. Improvement in education and law and order situation, more development and better economy were the reasons behind their opinion.
Meanwhile, more than three-fourths of the participants spoke for the restoration of the caretaker government system, which was scrapped through a constitutional amendment by the Awami League-led grand alliance government in 2011.
The IRI, a US-based non-profit organisation "working for advancing democracy", surveyed 2,550 adults from 255 villages and wards in 64 districts. The study was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development.

While releasing the survey findings at a city hotel yesterday, Franklin Bonner, resident country director of IRI, said they conducted the study to know people's opinion following the January 5 national election, boycotted by the BNP-led opposition alliance.
Sixty-two percent of the respondents have said the election results should not count because all parties didn't participate. Thirty-eight percent people, however, think otherwise.
Interestingly, 52 percent respondents didn't support the decision of the BNP-led alliance to boycott the polls. Forty percent people, in contrast, have supported the BNP move.
About 57 percent people spoke for a new election within six months while 34 percent said the government should complete its tenure, according to the survey.
However, 77 percent of the respondents think the caretaker government system should be brought back before the next parliamentary elections. However, 18 percent have opposed the restoration of the system.
In response to the survey questionnaire, 48 percent people said the Election Commission was completely impartial, fair and independent while 42 percent disagreed.
On the 10th parliamentary elections, 50 percent participants said the returning officers in their constituencies were completely impartial, fair and independent while 36 percent opposed it. Fourteen percent refrained from making comments.
Only one percent people said they were approached at any time in the last three weeks with money or gifts for casting votes or not casting votes.
While identifying three most important problems of the country at the moment, 70 percent people chose economy, 68 percent political instability, 41 percent strikes and 36 percent picked corruption.
Asked which of these problems the government should address first, interestingly, highest 41 percent respondents opted for stamping out corruption, 33 percent for fixing political instability and seven percent for solving economic problems first.
The opinion poll also reveals that 60 percent of the respondents think the economic condition of the country is likely to get worse in the year ahead while 35 percent forecast a better state of economy in future.
Seventy-one percent people fear that violence will escalate in the days to come. Twenty six percent, however, think the magnitude of violence will come down. Three percent see no change in the scenario.
Earlier on February 2, Democracy International, also a US-based organisation, released the findings of a survey conducted between January 11 and 15, showing that the nation was headed in the wrong direction mainly due to political conflicts, too many hartals and price hikes.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Last modified: 5:58 pm Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TAGS: Bangladesh political instability public opinion survey International Republican Institute (IRI) United States Agency for International Development (USAID) democracy.

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