NEWS

Greek pols top SE Europe polls

Two of Greece’s leading politicians are among the most popular foreign politicians in Southeastern Europe while opinions of US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair vary widely, a poll among the citizens of nine countries in the region has found. The random telephone poll, called Balkan Monitor and conducted by Kapa Research, was published in To Vima yesterday. It found that Foreign Minister George Papandreou was the fourth most popular leader in Southeastern Europe, with 55 percent having a positive or quite positive opinion of him. He was behind French President Jacques Chirac (58.6 percent), German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (58.0 percent) and European Commission President Romano Prodi (55.8 percent) and ahead of Vladimir Putin (52.9 percent) and Simitis (51.5 percent). Bush was 11th in the poll conducted in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Serbia-Montenegro, Turkey, Albania, Romania, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Papandreou ranked first in Greece (with 68.2 percent), followed by Greek opposition leader Costas Karamanlis (53.3 percent), former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis (49.6 percent) and Simitis (48.9 percent). Chirac was the most popular foreign leader among Greeks, with 44.2 percent, followed by Putin with 40.8 percent. Blair and Bush brought up the rear with 5.1 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively. Papandreou also topped the polls in Serbia-Montenegro (with 66 percent, ahead of Simitis’s 60.1 percent) and was second to Simitis in Cyprus (with 94.8 percent to Simitis’s 96.2 percent). Bush and Blair were at the bottom of the polls in Cyprus and Serbia-Montenegro but in Albania Blair was top (with 85.4 percent) and Bush sixth, with 63 percent.