Cyprus Mail

Almost half of Cypriots would be okay with a president of a different religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation

AN EU study on discrimination in the bloc found that 46 per cent of Cypriots would be comfortable with a president who was of a different religion than the majority and 45 per cent would not mind if they were from a different ethnic background.

Published on Thursday, the special Eurobarometer, which focused on the Roma, also found that 40 per cent of Cypriots would not mind their president being of a different sexual orientation than the majority.

The survey, which canvassed 27,438 people across the EU and 503 in Cyprus, found that 53 per cent of Europeans and 67 per cent of Cypriots, believed discrimination was widespread in their respective countries based on sexual orientation for transsexuals, 48 per cent and 54 per cent respectively. On religion or beliefs the respective figures were 48 per cent and 48 per cent, and on physical disabilities, 48 per cent and 46 per cent respectively.

Some 40 per cent of Europeans and Cypriots also believed there was discrimination based on age, and 35 per cent and 34 per cent respectively on gender.

The majority, 61 per cent, of Cypriots believe discrimination against the Roma was widespread in the country, which was the same as the EU average, while 59 per cent of Europeans and 57 per cent of Cypriots though the same applied for different ethnic backgrounds.

Fifty-nine per cent of Europeans and 60 per cent of Cypriots also believed there was discrimination based on skin colour.

The overwhelming majority of those asked, 88 per cent in the EU and 91 per cent in Cyprus, said they would feel comfortable with a woman in a senior state post. That percentage fell to 78 per cent and 81 per cent when it came to a very young individual, 77 per cent and 78 per cent for a person with a disability, and 75 per cent and 55 per cent for someone considered elderly.

Europeans were more open-minded to a person with a different skin colour, 72 per cent and 65 per cent respectively, as well as to one of a different religion, 69 per cent and 46 per cent.

A person of different ethnic background would be okay for 45 per cent of Cypriots and 65 per cent of Europeans, while 40 per cent of Cypriots wouldn’t mind a person of different sexual orientation as opposed to 64 per cent of Europeans.

A transsexual person would only gain 33 per cent support in Cyprus versus 54 per cent in the EU, and 32 per cent for a transgender person against 53 per cent in the EU. A Roma was supported by 49 per cent in the EU and 31 per cent in Cyprus.

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