In a Yemen Times Public Opinion Poll Last Week [Archives:1998/21/Front Page]

May 25 1998

Sanaa University Students Are Willing to Give Dr. Iryani’s Government a Chance
Most of the respondents expressed confidence in the abilities of the new Prime Minister, Dr. Abdul-Karim Al-Iryani. In a Yemen Times opinion survey of 1000 Sanaa University students last week, 58% said they have confidence in the man’s abilities, though 76% said they had expected real change in forming the government.
In spite of major economic hardships, 92% of the students felt good about their country and its future, and were buoyant on the occasion of the anniversary of unity day, May 22nd.
74% of the students said that the fall-out between Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanim, the former Prime Minister, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh was because of their differences as to how to handle corruption. “The former Prime Minister wanted to address the problem.”
Of the 1000 students polled, a solid 69% said they did not belong to any political party, and that they were not considering joining any.
During 19-21 May, the Yemen Times distributed an 8-question survey to 1300 students of Sanaa University at the Colleges of Arts, Commerce, Law, Science, and Languages. About 1000 persons responded, as follows:
1. Are you on the teaching staff, administrative staff, or a student?
87% = students;
5% = teachers;
8% = administrators
2. Any Political Party affiliation?
69% = None;
12% = Islah;
9% = PGC;
6% = Nasserites;
3% = YSP;
1% = Other.
3. If you are an independent (non affiliated to any political party), which political party is closest to you, or which one do you believe most?
None = 53%;
Islah = 24%;
PGC = 14%;
Other = 9%.
4. In your opinion, why did Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanim resign as prime minister?
74% = He wanted to attack corruption but the President did not want to;
19% = He wanted to disrupt the political power structure of the country;
07% = He could not agree with the members of his cabinet.
5. Were you surprised in the composition of the ‘new’ government?
76% = expected major change;
21% = expected no change;
03% = had no expectations.
Even then, most respondents indicated that they felt Dr. Abdul-Karim Al-Iryani is a capable person, and that his government should be given a chance. They felt he can succeed in his mandate.
6. Media circles say that power centers and corrupt officials block institution-building in Yemen. Do you agree?
88% = Yes;
8% = No;
4% = No comment.
7. How do you see the relationship between the political verbose and the exercise of democracy on the ground?
61% = There is no relationship;
18% = There is a logical relationship;
12% = The practice on the ground is moving towards the ideal;
09% = No comment.
8. Any comments you want to make on the progress of democracy and development, given the 8th anniversary of 22nd May?
a) 92% = Feel hopeful about the future;
08% = Feel miserable about the future.
b) 88% = the 22nd of May is the most important anniversary in the whole year.
From the above survey, we can conclude the following:
a) University students are quite interested in politics and they follow events closely. They also have a correct assessment of the situation.
b) University students willingly interacted with the survey. Of 1300 questionnaires, some 1,000 were filled and returned to representatives of Yemen Times.
c) It is clear from the survey that the government of Dr. Abdul-Karim Al-Iryani is getting the benefit of the doubt. It is being given a chance to prove itself.
d) Most students, although optimistic about the future, are still worried about the corruption and inefficiency prevailing in the system today.
e) Unlike the situation in parliament (which is PGC controlled) no one single party has a decided majority among the students surveyed, although the Islah had a slight edge.