A large majority of people want to see a provincial administration organisation (PAO) chairman who is an independent and not from a political party or political group, according to an opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on Oct 14-15 on 1,329 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and careers throughout the country to compile their opinion after the cabinet approved the Election Commission (EC)’s proposal to hold the election of PAO chairmen and PAO council members nationwide on Dec 20.

A majority – 82.47% – of the respondents said they would exercise their voting right in the Dec 20 PAO election, 12.34% said they would not do so and 5.19% were still undecided.

Asked what would be a decisive factor for them to elect a candidate for the post of PAO chairman, with a respondent allowed to give more than one answer, 60.50% said they would base their decision on the candidate’s past work for the benefits of the local people and local administration; 38.07% said they would take for consideration the candidate’s administrative and local development policies; 24.91% mentioned the candidate’s personal backgrounds, 22.80% said they would look into the candidate’s qualifications such as ages, education and occupations; 8.58% said they would take for consideration the political party or group the candidate belongs to; 4.97% said they would look into the candidate’s reputation; 2.86% would look into the candidate’s supporters; and, 2.63% would consider the candidate’s personal relations with other persons such as parents, relatives and friends.

Asked about the political affiliation of a PAO chairman, with a respondent allowed to give more then one answer, a majority of 79.23% said they wanted to get a PAO chairman who is an independent; 28.37% wanted a PAO chief from a political party; 14.00% wanted a PAO chairman from a political group; and, 0.53% had no answer or were not interested.

Asked whether they wanted the current PAO chiefs in their provinces replaced, 44.77% said “yes”; 43.19% said “no”; and, 12.04% undecided.

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