Poll reveals mistrust of government institutions
The Latin America Public Opinion Project has released the results of a poll from the summer of 2006 which finds Salvadorans believing in democracy but mistrusting their current government. The project's press release describes the findings:
The Latin American Public Opinion Project released a comparative study in San Salvador, titled La Cultura Política de la Democracia en El Salvador: 2006. Findings include strong citizen support of democratic governments: 87.6 percent prefer electoral democracy and 72.7 percent choose a democratic government over authoritarianism. Yet, compared to 2004, there was an increase in the number of people favoring authoritarian values and higher mistrust of public institutions.
In El Salvador, security levels are low, the study says: 47.1 percent of those surveyed feel unsafe or somewhat unsafe because of the prevalence of crime in the country. Even more disturbing is that 70 percent of crime victims still do not report criminal acts because of fear of or mistrust in government institutions. As a result, there is a vicious cycle of violence, lack of personal safety and mistrust in democratic institutions and in the legitimacy of the political system.
This trend also applies to how people in El Salvador perceive corruption: 43.1 percent consider corruption among government officials pervasive. Similarly, some sectors of the society show an important level of corruption tolerance. About 17 percent of victims of corruption condone acts of corruption. The data for 2006 shows, however, a slight decrease in corruption from 2004.
“Democracy faces many challenges in El Salvador, but when developing and implementing democratic governance programs, we cannot afford to lose citizen participation and trust in democratic institutions,” writes Ricardo Córdova Macías of the “Fundación Dr. Guillermo Manuel Ungo” (FUNDAUNGO) and José Miguel Cruz, director of the El Salvador-based Instituto Universitario de Opinión Pública at the Universidad Centroamericana....
Low levels of support for political parties are evidence of citizen mistrust. Macías and Cruz found that 71.6 percent of the people surveyed think it is a good idea to pass a law that requires political parties to publicize public and private funding and the way the money is spent. Currently, there is no such law in El Salvador.
But Salvadorans in general have confidence in city governments. Although this trust has decreased since 2004, there is still fair level of citizen participation in local governments, especially when it comes to requesting assistance or help to solve local problems.(more)