Azerbaijan, Baku, September 27 /Trend, S. Ahmedova/
UK's European Centre for Survey Research held a nationwide poll in Azerbaijan on September 11-16, 2013.
The research was conducted within "Democratic values, political and electoral conduct of Azerbaijani population: Sociological Analysis" project.
The survey involved 1,550 residents from 42 settlements, over 18 years of age. The survey was conducted face-to-face through interviewing, by the place of residence of the respondents, on the basis of a standard questionnaire.
The research which was based on a multi-stage random selection, adequately reflects the social and demographic structure of the population. The relative error of the survey is around 3 percent.
Head of the European Centre for Survey Research, president of the World Values Survey Association (WVSA), vice-president of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) Christian Haerpfer is the head of the project.
This research is the first phase of the "Democratic values, political and electoral conduct of the Azerbaijani population: Sociological Analysis" project.
The second phase will be held by the end of 2013. This will allow comparing the views of voters before and after the election campaign and examine to what extent in reality their expectations in connection with the elections have come true.
A booklet will be published in the Azerbaijani and English languages following the research. It will be made public in the first half of 2014. The main objectives of the project are to determine the population's attitude towards democratic values and its approach to democracy as a social and political system.
The public evaluation of the situation with democracy in the country, political priorities and activity of citizens, the motives for their participation in the presidential elections, the sympathy of voters and candidates' ratings were examined during the research.
The results of the survey show that people understand the term "democracy" in different ways. According to the survey, 48 percent take it as pluralism of opinions and judgements, 36 percent - as free and fair elections, 30.3 percent - as respect for human rights and freedoms.
Then, the principles - government for people, personal freedom and dignity, the rule of law - each gathered approximately 21 percent.
The elements of democracy, the most important for Azerbaijan, include the equality of all before the law, freedom of speech and press, competitive and fair elections.
Overall, the situation with democracy in Azerbaijan is positively assessed. Approximately two-thirds of respondents are satisfied with the state of democracy in the country. Answering a relevant question from the survey, they answered either "satisfied" or "in general, satisfied". Respondents believe that the situation in the sphere of democracy during the last 10 years has improved. The level of freedom of press was assessed quite highly.
It is interesting that a fairly large proportion of respondents (63.4 percent) understand participaton in social and political life as talks with friends and relatives, and also as watching news on TV.
In other words, it says more about people spending free time, rather than participating in social and political life. Although, seemingly, such approach towards politics comes from a sceptical relation towards parties - 65.6 percent of responders do not even consider themselves a part of a particular party.
The survey has shown that potential electoral activity of respondents (their statements that they will participate in the voting) in these presidential elections is quite high (more than 82 percent).
However, practice shows that usually the number of those claiming participation in elections differs from those who actually goes to elections (according to the Central Election Commission in the last election turnout was at the level of 70 percent).
According to the survey, a big majority of votes go for current President of Azerbaijan. Although, a certain amount of responders (11.8 percent) do not consider going to the polling stations at all, 3.3 percent more have yet to decide, and 7.9 percent couldn't decide (which is natural, since the election campaign at the time of the survey has not started yet). Interesting that 2.9 percent of responders said they will not be giving their votes for any candidate.
The survey showed that 88.7 percent of voters will vote for incumbent President Ilham Aliyev.
It is expected that representative of the National Council of Democratic Forces Jamil Hasanli will gain 0.6 percent, independent candidate Zahid Oruj and chairman of Umid party Iqbal Aghazade - 0.3 percent each, Gudrat Hasanguliyev (Popular Front Party of Unified Azerbaijan) and Ilyas Ismayilov (Adalat party) - 0.2 percent each, Faraj Guliyev (National Revival Party) and Araz Alizade (Social Democratic Party) - 0.1 percent each.
In other words, current President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has a much higher chance of winning the elections, compared to other candidates.
As for the motives of citizens' participation in the presidential elections, the survey has shown that many respondents consider their civic duty to participate in the voting (59.6 percent).
High percentage linked with confidence in the election results and the opportunity to vote for the candidate can be seen as a positive fact.
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