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MaltaToday survey • Kate Gonzi is favourite for president amongst PN voters

Although majority want non-partisan head of state, respondents find it hard not to mention politician for next President of the Republic

james
James Debono
20 January 2014, 12:00am
Favoured for President by Nationalist voters: Kate Gonzi first, then her husband Lawrence
Favoured for President by Nationalist voters: Kate Gonzi first, then her husband Lawrence


A MaltaToday survey held in the past week shows that 57% of respondents would like government to break with tradition and appoint a president with no partisan affiliation.

But when asked who they wish to be their next President, only 1.3% mentioned a candidate hailing from civil society.

The survey confirmed the popularity of current President George Abela, whose performance is judged positively by a massive 93%. His term ends in 2014.

Respondents were asked to name someone who would be ideal to occupy the role of president. Respondents were not prompted by any names.

The survey shows Kate Gonzi as the most mentioned name, followed by her husband Lawrence Gonzi, mainly thanks to the convergence of Nationalist voters around these two names.

On the other hand, Labour voters were more fragmented in their choices, with Edwin Grech - former minister and father of Karen Grech, murdered by letter bomb in 1986 - emerging as the most favoured candidate among Labour voters.

Grech is closely followed by former Speaker of the House Miriam Spiteri Debono and foreign minister George Vella. Interestingly, 4.4% of Labour voters favour the appointment of Lawrence or Kate Gonzi.

Only 1.3% opted for a name with no partisan affiliations. These included Din l-Art Helwa president Simone Mizzi, former European Court of Human Courts Judge Giovanni Bonello (who is ineligible due to his post in the judiciary) and Caritas director Mgr Victor Grech.

Three percent opted for the reconfirmation of George Abela, something which would require a change in the Constitution as presidents presently can only serve one term.

Respondents were not given a choice of names and were asked to name someone spontaneously. Forty eight percent could not name anyone. Among Labour voters, 61% could not mention a name. 

A president from civil society?

The survey shows that only 16% would like the next president to hail from the party in government, as was normal practice between 1976 and 2009 before Lawrence Gonzi appointed George Abela, a former Labour deputy leader who had fallen out with former Labour leader Alfred Sant.

Abela was also a leadership contender in 2008, when he emerged as the second most preferred choice after Joseph Muscat.

Nationalist administrations between 1987 and 2008 had always appointed top party stalwarts, namely Censu Tabone, Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, Guido de Marco and Eddie Fenech Adami. With the exception of chief justice emeritus Sir Anthony Mamo, Dom Mintoff also appointed party stalwarts as presidents. These included Anton Buttigieg and Agatha Barbara.

Only 16% would like the next president to hail from the Nationalist political camp, as requested by Opposition leader Simon Busuttil. The overwhelming majority (57%) would like a non-partisan president. 

Not surprisingly, PN voters are the most likely to opt for a president hailing from the Opposition. But while 40% of PN voters would like a president from the Opposition, 50% would prefer someone with no political affiliation.

PL voters are the most likely to favour a candidate from government.  But while 31% of Labour voters favour a president from government's side, 57% would prefer someone with no partisan affiliations.

The fact that only 1.3% could mention a name from civil society suggests that it would be difficult to find a suitable national figure who is genuinely perceived as non-partisan to fit in the role of president.

Two-thirds of respondents are indifferent on whether the next president should be a man or a women while 18% would prefer a woman. Still, with the exception of Kate Gonzi, no woman was mentioned by more than 5% of respondents. So far Malta has only had one of Malta's eight presidents was a woman.

A popular president

The survey confirms the great popularity of President George Abela which suggests that his cross-party appeal and attempts to reach out to the people have paid off.

Significantly, nobody deemed his performance as a negative one while 93% of respondents deemed his performance positively.

Throughout his presidency, Abela took a high profile in charity events like l-Istrina and the President's fun run, opened more areas in Sant Anton to the public, and largely steered away from political controversy.

Nationalist voters were more nuanced in their appreciation of Abela than Labour voters. 

While 98% of Labour voters judged Abela's performance of president positively, his approval falls to 78% among PN voters.  Nineteen percent of PN voters deemed Abela's performance as so-so.  But none of the PN voters considered his performance a negative one.

Methodology

675 respondents were contacted by telephone after being chosen from telephone directories.  400 accepted to be interviewed.  The results were weighed according to gender and age balance of general population.  The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.9.



james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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NIGEL DUNKERLEY
A perfect candidate for the Presidency will be former judge Dr Anton Depasquale, a person of integrity and honesty
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Rebecca Muscat
So, PN supporters prefer Kate Gonzi to be appointed as President. No problem. They can appoint Kate Gonzi as the PN President. They can say that their wish was fulfilled.
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Stuart Micallef
Algan, you write what you write because you are a totalitarian.
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If I were PM and had to choose the next Head of State: Mr. Justice Giovanni Bonello
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Malcolm Mifsud
Personally in normal circumstances I would have nothing against Kate Gonzi being nominated. She has all the qualities to be a worthy follower of George Abela and continue his work in the social field. However the recent unpatriotic way in which the PN dealt with the citizenship case must raise a question of trust and rule her out and I explain why. The PN is notorious in the way it puts pressure on its people and expect them to stick with the superior stance of their inner circles . We know how expert they are to create social boycotts and send nonconformists to realm of the forgotten.Therefore if push comes to shove she will have no option but to conform to the wishes of the party inner circles or suffer the worst of tongue lashings and blogging insults. Therefore if we want a woman as president there is none else as worthy as Myriam Spiteri Debono who I am sure given what she has done for the improved status of women will more than rise to the occasion of showing her humility and humanity . If it is going to be a male president both George Vella and Edwin Grech will no doubt give dignity and be worthy of this high office.
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Malcolm Mifsud
Personally in normal circumstances I would have nothing against Kate Gonzi. She has all the qualities to be a worthy follower of George Abela and continue his work in the social field. However the recent unpatriotic way in which the PN dealt with the citizenship case must raise a question of trust rule her out and I explain why. The PN is notorious on the way it puts pressure on its people to stick with the superior stance of their inner circles . We know how expert they are to create social boycotts and sent to domain of the forgotten.Therefore if push comes to shove she will have no option but to conform to the wishes of the party inner circles or suffer the worst of tongue lashings and blogging. Therefore if we want a woman as president there is noone else as worthy as Myriam Spiteri Debono who I am sure given what she has done for the improved status of womenwill more than rise to the occassion. If it is going to be a male president both George Vella
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Nazzareno azzopardi
@pn supporters Mhux hekk tghid, ibqghu ittamaw li ikollkhom lill kate gonzi President, l iktar wara it tfixkil u il falliment li hallejtu warajkhom. Ma tridux Tiehdu it tmexxija tal gvern ukoll hux wara tkaxkira papali bhall dik?
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Yanika Chetcuti
Gonzu busted even by his own people. Don't lose any more hair Lor, Kate wouldn't make it either.
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afdom dr muscat ha imexxu kontrik min san anton girgenti isiebu semu il partit taghna jiena ma nissuggerixxi il hadd l ghazla tal prim
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before the elections I used to joke Gonzi should get into gardening, and Kate start knitting....being a nanna suits her more as a role
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Judith Grech
What do you expect for PN supporters to say. I believe that Joseph Muscat has more sense than to choose a GONZI name for president. After all it was her husband who said that he has a par idejn sodi and it was him who voted bil qalb for higher electricty bills.
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Laurence Zammit
If indeed Dr Muscat goes on to appoint Kate then the majority of Labour supporters (those who form the backbone of the PL and who don't give a hoot about "Taghna Lkoll" would be utterly disappointed. Surely, Dr Muscat is not in a position to lose these supporters. As it is there is already too much disgruntlement out there and talk is rife that the PL would lose one MEP next May.
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A Abela
As often, the title is misleading. The survey shows that the majority of Maltese people do not have an opinion [or may not really care] who should be the next president.
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Obligat li insaqsiha; 1. X`tahseb dwar il- private Investment Scheme 2. Jekk tisthi bil-Gvern li hu Laburista, bhal ma qal zewgha. 3. Jekk TISTAX tahdem mieghu
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Christina Barbara
If nationalist voters like Kate Gonzi so much they should elect her as leader of their party. Simon Busutill is a very easy act to follow in any case.
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Obligat li insaqsiha; 1. X`tahseb dwar il- private Investment Scheme 2. Jekk tisthi bil-Gvern li hu Laburista, bhal ma qal zewgha. 3. Jekk TISTAX tahdem mieghu
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George Muscat
Malta is not the Political's Family Business, so when they choose someone themselves they aren't right. Malta doesn't belong to any Political Party but it belongs to each and every one on us. Joseph Muscat said "Malta Taghna Ilkoll" So if he chooses a President for him it doesn't mean that I want him too. Let there be an election and every Maltese citizen shall vote and choose his/her President. If I am liable to pay taxes then I have a right to choose my own President. If we change choose a Government them it will be much easier to choose a President. To ALL Politicians "stop scratching each other's Backs". Malta Taghna Ilkoll. The only two Presidents that I liked were Sir Anthony Mamo and Dr George Abela. Dr George because he did a lot of good to the Maltese Nation. As I politician I never liked him, but as a President YES. At least he did unite a Nation on various occasions.
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Janet Chircop Bray
Kate Gonzi ghandha toqghod id-dar ma zewgha Lawrence igawdu n-neputtijiet u jiehdu pjacir b'xulxin. Issa zmienhom ghamluh, imbaghad meta Simon ikun Prim Ministru fl-anno mai jaghmel lil min irid hu. Skond l-aqwa ministru li kellu l-PN - Dr Austin - darba kien qal li b'5 maggoranza ma ghandu jikkunsulta ma' hadd u jaghmel li jrid, allura b'9 maggoranza????
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During the last 10 months there were several occasions that the PN showed to the maltese people that they cannot be trusted. Behind closed doors they agreed with the government on several issues but then when these issues came to discuss in Parliament they changed their version and decided to go against them. A PN President certainly is not to be trusted because these people do not have a loyalty to the maltese people but to their own party. If anyone needs proof can look around and see the PN MEP's voting against their own country and insisting that Malta is named in the declaration. We do not want another horse of Troy, Dr Busuttil. Already had enough of them.
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mario grillo
ir rispett lejn is sinjura Gonzi dan ikun insolent kbir lejn il poplu Malti aktar lejn il Laburisti. Il Prim Ministru inghata mandat ta 36,000 vot ghal bidla u mhux nintlew bl-ghanqbud. Dak li qed jghid Simon ma jregix ghax allura dejjem se jkolna President mill kamp Politiku u dawk in nies Serji dejjem se jibqu lura. Il President il Gdid ghandha tkun in Nutar Spiteri Deboni mara tal ligi,integrita, u zomm ilboghod mill politika. Jew inkella Savouir Balzan, ghax jekk inaqqas il piz ikun kapaci jghamel maratona.
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As a President of the Republic of Malta, I strongly favours Professor Edwin Grech. Profs. Grech is out of politics. The Maltese Nation owes much to Profs Grech not only for his efficient medical service to patients but also for the political murder of his beloved daughter. Joseph Muscat, above all, should recognize this and appoint him as President of our Sovereign Nation.
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Roderick Spiteri
Maria Camilleri maybe ...
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If Simon had won the election Gonzi would have been made President, Joseph has won the election and Gonzi may be made President.
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Kate Gonzi yes as vice-president with such an overwhelming majority a non-PN candidate is in order
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delia alfred
It's quite significant that no campaign and almost no discussion was held about the appointment of the President of the Republic.
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Rachel Roberts
Same surname , same Coach! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Same coach is pushing KATE FOR PRESIDENT ~ found a canditate with a nicer face, maybe a softer ♥ than Lawrence.... and maybe find himself a nice position for him , FAMILY & FRIENDS R. @ the Office of the President ! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Keeping a low profile for now , BUT THAT IS HOW MARKETING GURUS do it, giving subtle leads making XARANANK surveys, pushing down the GONZI surname down our throats as if no other PRODUCT is available ~ GONZI , no UNIFYING name for generations of Maltese ! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A Bishop and a Prime Minister with that name are ENOUGH , MORE THAN ENOUGH ! :p
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Rachel Roberts
Same surname , same Coach! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Same coach is pushing KATE FOR PRESIDENT ~ found a canditate with a nicer face, maybe a softer ♥ than Lawrence.... and maybe find himself a nice position for him , FAMILY & FRIENDS R. @ the Office of the President ! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Keeping a low profile for now , BUT THAT IS HOW MARKETING GURUS do it, giving subtle leads making XARANANK surveys, pushing down the GONZI surname down our throats as if no other PRODUCT is available ~ GONZI , no UNIFYING name for generations of Maltese ! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A Bishop and a Prime Minister with that name are ENOUGH , MORE THAN ENOUGH ! :p