Majority Bangladeshis think PM Hasina doing good job: IRI
DHAKA, Aug 9, 2023 (BSS) – Some 70 percent Bangladeshis believe Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is doing a “good job” as Bangladesh is set for general elections in late December 2023 or early January 2024, US think tank IRI said revealing a survey report of theirs.
“About 70 percent of Bangladeshis say the prime minister is doing a good job, and majorities approve of the government’s performance on various policy issues from access to drinking water to improving education,” said the Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI).
According to IRI the approval rate was 4 percent higher than that of a 2018 survey to gauge Sheikh Hasina’s popularity, while that study was carried out by them as well.
The survey was conducted between March and April while IRI posted the results overnight on its website.
IRI is an American nonprofit organization funded and supported by the United States federal government though most of its board members are drawn from the country’s Republican Party.
The institute also sought to know analyse its survey findings through focus group discussions when analysts attributed the premier’s successful Covid management, a raft of infrastructure projects and a series of safety net schemes.
The analysts believe Sheikh Hasina’s enhanced approval rate in a span of five years validates her successful Covid management, a raft of infrastructure projects, and the rolling out of a number of safety net schemes.
The report said in view of the government’s performance in different sectors, the endorsement for ruling Awami League also stood “high”.
According to IRI a staggering 87 percent approve of the role of the government in the developments of roads, highways and bridges, while 86 percent approve government’s success in ensuring availability of drinking water.
It said some 81 percent respondents endorsed the government performance in improving education, 54 percent saw the government’s fight against violent extremism a success story and 60 percent approved government initiatives in keeping the peace.
The role of the government in strengthening democracy in the country was approved by 54 percent of the respondents, and 52 percent approved of the role of the government in preventing enforced disappearances.
Moreover, 59 percent “expressed satisfaction” with the current choices on the emergence of new political parties.
According to the survey 92 percent people are interested to exercise their franchise in the upcoming polls despite skepticisms about the polling scenario and 56 percent of them suggested opposition parties’ participation even if their demand for a caretaker government was not met.
“In focus groups, many BNP supporters urged the party to run,” the report said adding that “56 percent of Bangladeshis say the opposition should compete in the election even if the CTG (caretaker government) is not reinstated,” the report said.
Regarding civil society organizations including local, national and international groups, some 62 percent respondents observed that “for the most part they represent the interest of the elites”.
Some 35 percent believe “they represent the interests of the ordinary people”.
Asked what is Bangladesh’s single most important problem 36 percent said “corruption” while 21 percent pointed to “inflation”.
Bangladeshis are pessimistic about the economy, politics, and overall state of the country. For the first time since IRI’s January 2014 Bangladesh poll, a majority say the country is heading in the wrong direction -- up 38 percent since IRI’s poll in September 2019.
Economic issues are driving this pessimism, with 50 percent of “wrong direction” respondents citing price hikes as the cause. Of respondents, 51 percent said the economy is doing poorly—up 35 percent since 2019.
The 2024 contest has significant implications for Bangladesh’s democracy.
IRI carried out the survey in all the 64 districts, drawing 5,000 respondents who aged between 18 and 56+.