By Hrant Alexanian in Stepanakert
According to a public opinion poll conducted in the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by Stepanakert Press Club with the sponsorship of the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 49 percent of respondents think that there is no democracy in the republic. Only 30 percent of respondents evaluated positively the performance of current Nagorno-Karabakh president Arkadii Ghukasian, while 42.4 percent of those surveyed gave a negative rating of him. More than 50 percent of participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the government. More than half of the participants of the survey harshly criticized the work of the law-enforcement agencies.
The survey of1000 participants from Stepanakert and the adjacent areas shows a negative assessment of social and economic conditions. More than 80 percent of respondents think that the government is not doing enough to improve the economy, and 43 percent of respondents say that during last two years their social and economic conditions didn't improve at all.
Karabakh Armenians also had a negative view of the media situation. More than 60 percent of respondents say that the local media lacks objectivity in covering political life in Nagorno-Karabakh and that the authorities ignore public opinion in formulating their policies.
The survey findings indicate that the Karabakh branch of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation -- Dashnaktsutiun has the highest rating. More than 21 percent of respondents gave the Dashnak party a favorable rating. The second most popular party is the Communist Party of Artsakh with 16.6 percent support. Only 11.4 percent of those surveyed say they favor the pro-presidential "Union of Democratic Artsakh," which could be considered as the ruling party.
On the question on how to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, 49 percent favored unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, while 43 percent say they would prefer independence. More than 70 percent of respondents think that the conflict should be solved only by peaceful means. Only 20 percent of respondents say they would favor a military solution if the peace process fails. A solution based on the principle of "territory in exchange for status" is not acceptable to more than 60 percent of respondents. More than half of those surveyed think that Karabakh should participate in the peace negotiations.