Subject: IRI: Wide Support for Democracy Found in East Timor

Press Release

Source: International Republican Institute

Wide Support for Democracy Found in East Timor Wednesday November 19, 10:26 am ET Non-Partisan Survey Reveals Widespread Optimism

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Democracy has already gained a strong foothold in East Timor, a non-partisan poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) has concluded. According to the results of the survey conducted last month, an overwhelming 68% of respondents are "optimistic" that democracy "will reform East Timor and solve the problems we face."

Respondents also have respect for various institutions, from the Presidency to the UN to the Prime Ministry, where each receives a "good or excellent" rating of over 50%.

Another significant finding of the poll is that 88.7% of respondents feel free to express their political opinions, while only 4.8% feel they are unable to express their opinions freely.

"By almost any measure, citizens of East Timor are optimistic regarding the future of democracy. This survey reveals that citizens feel free to express their political opinions and are willing to give democracy a real chance," said Deborah White, Country Director for the IRI in East Timor.

The question "How optimistic are you that democracy will reform East Timor and solve the problems we face?" got the following responses:

Very optimistic 11% Optimistic 57% Less optimistic 15% Democracy will cause problems 4% Don't know/NA 12%

When asked if democracy is "our best hope for the future", 84% of respondents agreed while only a scarce 6% disagreed. When asked if democracy is the best way for East Timor "to industrialize," 85% agreed while 6% disagreed.

The poll revealed that the two main concerns shared by the people are the issues of KKN and the economy. 65% say KKN has deteriorated since independence and 43% say the same of the economy. On issues of democracy, freedom, security, education and health care, more people believe that conditions have improved rather than deteriorated since independence. The full poll results can be viewed here: http://www.iri.org./pdfs/ET-finalrept-03.pdf

The poll of 1,561 East Timorese citizens was conducted in October. Field work was conducted by over 100 students from the University of Dili, in all 13 Districts at all levels, including Sub-District, Suco and Aldeia. Consultations prior to the conduct of the survey were undertaken in August with key government leaders, representatives of the major political parties and leading academics. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5%.

About IRI

The International Republican Institute is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to advancing democracy, freedom, self- government and the rule of law worldwide. IRI programs are nonpartisan and adhere to the fundamental American principles of individual freedom, equal opportunity and the entrepreneurial spirit. IRI is working in over 50 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Source: International Republican Institute


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