Sunday, 25 November 2012

Malta Today: Maltese not keen on transgender, non-Catholic prime minister

Eurobarometer finds Maltese more prejudiced towards PM of different religious, ethnic background or transgender leader.
Thursday 22 November 2012 - 15:38 by James Debono

Vladimir Luxoria was the first openly transgender MP in Europe, and the world's second openly transgender MP after New Zealander Georgina Beyer.

The Maltese profess themselves to be "very comfortable" with having a female or even a disabled Prime Minister, but are less likely to feel at home if the highest-elected official in the country was a transgender person, or someone who is not Catholic or white.

A survey by the European Union's polling agency Eurobarometer asked respondents who they would feel about having people from a different religion or ethnicity taking up the highest elected political position in their country.

The Maltese said that from a scale of 1 to 10, their comfort level at having a woman prime minister was 8.9 - very comfortable - and above the EU average of 8.2.

They were less comfortable with a woman PM than the Swedes (9.7) and Denmark and Ireland (9.6).

The Maltese also score better than Europeans (7.7) on their level of comfort with a disabled Prime Minister (8.2) - again, comfort levels on a disabled PM or president varied widely, with scores ranging from 5.4 in the Czech Republic to 9.1 in Ireland.

Surprisingly, the Maltese are a notch keener than other Europeans on having a gay Prime Minister - scoring 6.8 on the comfort scale, just over the European average of 6.6, but mostly thanks to the very low scores registered by Eastern European countries.

Comfort levels with having the highest elected political office occupied by gays was highest in Northern and Western European countries, and lowest in certain Eastern European countries, with the lowest levels recorded in Latvia (3.2), Slovakia (3.4), Romania (3.6) and Bulgaria (3.7).

High acceptance levels were registered in Denmark and Sweden (8.9 and 8.8).

But the Maltese are less keen on having a transgender or transsexual Prime Minister: 5.1 compared to the EU average of 5.7. As in the case of sexual orientation, comfort levels with a transgender PM are highest in Denmark (7.6), Sweden (7.4) and Luxembourg (7.2) and lowest in Latvia (2.8) and Slovakia (3.0). In this instance Cyprus (3.0) also features at the bottom of the ranking.

The Maltese are also less keen than Europeans on having a PM hailing from a different ethnic group, registering a 5.4 comfort level compared to an EU average score of 6.5.

The national analysis shows that scores range from 3.5 in Cyprus to 8.0 in Sweden; after Sweden, the highest comfort scores were found in Denmark (7.9), the UK (7.7) and Luxembourg (7.5). Conversely, comfort scores are very low in Greece (4.2), the Czech Republic (4.4) and Slovakia (4.7), as well as in Cyprus.

Moreover, compared to other Europeans (6.7), the Maltese are less comfortable with a PM who believes in a religion different from that of the majority (5.5).

The Maltese are far less comfortable with a PM from a minority religion, than fellow Roman Catholic countries: high comfort levels were registered in Ireland (8.4) and Poland (8.0) - while at the other extreme Cyprus is the only country where the average comfort level is below point 5 on the scale.

Significantly, the Maltese are also more comfortable on having a PM under the age of 30 than other Europeans: they registered a 6.9 comfort level compared to the EU's 6.3.

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