Jun 172008

WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush is ranked only slightly above the rulers of Pakistan and Iran as one of the least-trusted leaders in the world, a survey released on Monday showed. The survey, carried out by WorldPublicOpinion.org in 20 countries around the world, found that no national leaders inspired wide confidence outside their own countries. But Bush, President Pervez Musharraf and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ranked at the bottom, the polling showed. Only 23 percent of people outside the US had “a lot or some” confidence in Bush, compared to 22 percent for Ahmadinejad and 18 percent for Musharraf. The leaders of other countries fared little better. Only 26 percent had confidence in French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 28 percent in Chinese President Hu Jintao, 30 percent in British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and 32 percent in Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has since become prime minister. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had the highest confidence levels, at 35 percent. “While the worldwide mistrust of George Bush has created a global leadership vacuum, no alternative leader has stepped into the breach,” said Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org. “Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin are popular among some nations, but more mistrust them than trust them.” WorldPublicOpinion.org is a project involving research centres around the world and is managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. The group polled 19,751 people in nations that represent 60 percent of the world’s population. The survey was conducted between January 10 and May 6, with margins of error of plus or minus 2 to 4 percent. Reuters

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