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Bangladesh headed in wrong direction, survey says

Publication Date : 12-02-2014


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 per cent of the respondents say the country is straying from the right direction due to political turmoil, poor economy and frequent strikes.

Thirty five per cent 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 per cent of the respondents have said the election results should not count because all parties didn't participate. Thirty-eight per cent people, however, think otherwise.

Interestingly, 52 per cent respondents didn't support the decision of the BNP-led alliance to boycott the polls. Forty per cent people, in contrast, have supported the BNP move.

About 57 per cent people spoke for a new election within six months while 34 per cent said the government should complete its tenure, according to the survey.

However, 77 per cent of the respondents think the caretaker government system should be brought back before the next parliamentary elections. However, 18 per cent have opposed the restoration of the system.

In response to the survey questionnaire, 48 per cent people said the Election Commission was completely impartial, fair and independent while 42 per cent disagreed.

On the 10th parliamentary elections, 50 per cent participants said the returning officers in their constituencies were completely impartial, fair and independent while 36 per cent opposed it. Fourteen per cent refrained from making comments.

Only one per cent 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 per cent people chose economy, 68 per cent political instability, 41 per cent strikes and 36 per cent picked corruption.

Asked which of these problems the government should address first, interestingly, highest 41 per cent respondents opted for stamping out corruption, 33 per cent for fixing political instability and seven per cent for solving economic problems first.

The opinion poll also reveals that 60 per cent of the respondents think the economic condition of the country is likely to get worse in the year ahead while 35 per cent forecast a better state of economy in future.

Seventy-one per cent people fear that violence will escalate in the days to come. Twenty six per cent, however, think the magnitude of violence will come down. Three per cent 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.


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