Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Macedonia President’s Popularity ‘Doubles’

The popularity of Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski has doubled in the past three months, an opinion poll by the local Institute for Democracy suggests.

Asked which politicians they trust the most, 9.5 percent of those polled chose Crvenkovski in August. This is double from June when he got less then 5 percent.

In recent months Crvenkovski has announced his return as the head of the opposition Social Democrats and was increasingly present in public opposing the Government’s policy in the so-called “name” dispute with neighbouring Greece.

However, his ratings are still not enough to beat those of Macedonia’s Premier and ruling centre-right VMRO DPMNE party chief, Nikola Gruevski whose popularity has generally stayed high at 32 percent.

Next on the list is the head of the ruling ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, Ali Ahmeti who got 10.6 percent of votes. This is much higher than the leader of the ethnic Albanian opposition, Menduh Thaci from the Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, who got only 1.4 percent in support.

The leader of the main opposition party, Radmila Sekerinska from the Social Democrats also scored low at 0.3 percent, research shows.

More than one third said they do not have confidence in either politician.

As for party ratings, VMRO DPMNE secured support from 28 percent of those surveyed; the Social Democrats got slightly less than 10 percent while the DUI got 9 percent. The DPA got less than 3 percent.

13 percent said they would not vote while around one third of the surveyed said they are not sure.

Regarding the ongoing Athens-Skopje name row which is now Macedonia’s sole obstacle in joining NATO and could yet stall the country’s European Union accession, only 13.2 percent of the surveyed said they expect a quick resolution. 54 percent of people said were pessimistic about a swift deal.

32.6 percent gave no answer to this question.

The survey was conducted via telephone based on a representative sample of the population, the Institute said.

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