91 percent Sri Lankans approve their leader

Sept 04, Colombo: A Gallup poll conducted in April 2011 has concluded that 91 percent Sri Lankans have approved their leader, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s job performance, as they have done in the past two years following the end of the war.

However, the President’s approval rate has slightly dipped from the post-war high of 94 percent in 2009 to 91 percent in 2010 and maintained since then. Before the end of the war in 2008, 78 percent Sri Lankans approved the President’s performance in office.

According to Gallup, the results are based on 1,000 face-to-face interviews with adults, aged 15 or older, conducted in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Publishing the results in the Gallup Management Journal on Friday, Peter Cynkar of Gallup agency wrote that Rajapaksa’s decision last week to lift the country’s 28-year-old state of emergency will likely further endear him to a public that almost universally supports him.

“Sri Lankans’ approval of their president’s job performance likely reflects their happiness to finally have peace in their country and a vision for the rebuilding of their nation,” he wrote.

Cynkar says the President’s move few weeks before the government is expected to face off against Western governments at a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting may also potentially ease some of the international pressure the country is under over its human rights record.

Western governments and human rights groups have increasingly been pressing Sri Lanka to conduct an independent probe into alleged war crimes but the government has been resisting the pressure saying that there is a mechanism already in place for such a probe.

Noting that the government’s lifting of emergency laws has earned praise from the U.S. and other Western nations and suggests Sri Lanka is trying to leave its violent past behind, Cynkar wrote that “it will be imperative for the Sri Lankan government to use this political capital as it works to resolve conflicts within the country and reintegrate disenfranchised portions of the population.”

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