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Public sentiment improves, CyBC survey reveals

MORE than half of Cypriots feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction, even as a roughly equal number believe Cyprus benefited from the three-year economic adjustment programme, while two in three say that bank deposits are not safe, according to a survey commissioned by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation and broadcast on Friday.

The survey, released a month before the May 22 legislative elections and conducted by IMR and the University of Nicosia, comprised the responses of 1,000 eligible voters, who were questioned over the phone from April 8 to 18.

According to its findings, 58 per cent of Cypriots feel the country is generally heading in the wrong direction, down from 70 per cent five years earlier. But the sentiment may have been somewhat contradicted by responses to another question, according to which 52 per cent of Cypriots feel that the country benefited from the three-year implementation of an economic-adjustment programme from March 2013 to March 2016.

With regard to the prospect of abandoning the Euro and returning to the Cyprus pound, three in five said it was likely to make things worse.

Responding to questions regarding the Cyprus problem, 62 per cent said they do not feel we are any closer to a solution compared to a year ago, but even that was down from 83 per cent in April 2011.

With regard to President Nicos Anastasiades’ handling of the Cyprus problem so far, 40 per cent approved, and even fewer said they were happy with the way he carried out his duties and the country’s affairs internally, with respective approval ratings of 38 and 34 per cent. Rather oddly, the survey’s findings included comparative responses from five years ago – when Demetris Christofias was president – which stood at 34, 35, and 31 per cent, respectively.

Ranking party leaders by popularity saw the Greens’ Giorgos Perdikis clinch a surprise first place with 57 per cent, with new-found Solidarity’s leader Eleni Theocharous a close second with 56 per cent. DISY’s Averof Neophytou trailed at 46 per cent, while AKEL’s Andros Kyprianou and DIKO’s Nicolas Papadopoulos tied at fourth with 43 per cent. EDEK’s Marinos Sizopoulos ranked last among parliamentary party leaders with 26 per cent.

Asked to rate each party’s image on various criteria, including ‘has most able officials’, ‘can best run the country’, and ‘has the right stance in the Cyprus problem negotiations’, ruling DISY topped the list, trailed by AKEL in most, with DIKO a distant third.

Reflecting the parties’ image, responses to the question of voter intention in the upcoming elections showed DISY was poised to win 23.5 per cent of the popular vote, AKEL 17 per cent, DIKO 9 per cent, and EDEK 4.5 per cent. Responses also included a 17 per cent abstention rate, as well as undecideds to the tune of 14 per cent, while 1 per cent declined to reveal their preferred party.

Meanwhile, despite a public outcry when the measure was being introduced, almost half of respondents – 46 per cent – said they were in favour of the new electoral measure, which raised the bar for parliamentary entry from 1.8 per cent to 3.6 per cent, while 35 per cent opposed it.

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