Gaddafi must go, say 75% of young Arabs

Vast majority of Arabs say democracy is key to Middle East, back uprisings, poll shows
Gaddafi, Libya leader
By Shane McGinley
Tue 15 Mar 2011 11:15 AM

Young Arabs overwhelmingly believe Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should step down, according to a poll conducted in key countries across the Middle East.

Some 75 percent of respondents in the third annual ASDA’A Burston-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey said Gaddafi’s 42-year reign should end.

Just three percent of respondents said the removal of the Libyan leader would have a negative impact on the Arab state.

The survey of youngsters aged 18 to 24 in ten Middle Eastern countries showed widespread support for the uprisings sweeping the region.

An initial 2,000 interviews were carried out between December 2010 and January. A further 500 interviews were conducted in February and March following the political unrest in the region, in

Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq.

The uprisings have spurred a rising demand for democracy in the Middle East, the poll showed.

The vast majority of respondents - 92 percent - said that living in a democratic country was very important to them, up from 77 percent of those polled in the initial round of interviews.

More than half of those polled in February wanted the right to vote, up from 26 percent of respondents in January.

Almost a third, 31 percent, said they were very concerned about government corruption, a figure that rose to 62 percent among those polled in February.

Three quarters of respondents said they backed the removal of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, while 63 percent said the ousting of Tunisia’s former leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was a positive move.

Closer to home, 62 percent of those polled backed constitutional reform in Bahrain, which has been gripped by almost two months of anti-government protests.

Concern about their country’s direction figured strongly among those polled- in January, half said their countries had taken the right path over the last five years. That figure dropped to 31 percent in February, with 66 percent saying their countries were heading in the wrong direction.

Dissatisfaction was highest in Lebanon, with 61 percent of those questioning its leadership.

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