Mandela: president of the world!


4 October 2005

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has topped an international BBC poll to find the 11 leaders the people of the world would like to run a fantasy global government.

More than 15 000 people worldwide took part in the interactive Power Play game, in which players were invited to choose a team of 11 to run the world from a list of around 100 of the most powerful leaders, thinkers and other high-profile people on the planet.

Also in the top 11 is South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, voted into eighth position. Both Mandela and Tutu are Nobel Peace laureates.

Mandela’s deputies are former US President Bill Clinton in second place and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and revered Buddhist figure the Dalai Lama in third.

In fourth place, and a surprise to the BBC team, is Noam Chomsky, US linguist, leftwing political activist and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Another outspoken American, Michael Moore, is 15th.

US Federal Reserve boss Alan Greenspan makes the list at number five, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates is number six and Steve Jobs of Apple computers is number seven.

After Tutu, flamboyant British tycoon Richard Branson is in ninth place, followed by stock market billionaire and philanthropist George Soros.

Just making the list at 11th place is United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, who already plays a key role in managing world affairs.

Bush and Blair don’t rule
British Prime Minister Tony Blair failed to make the fantasy government, coming in at 12th. US president George W Bush landed a spot at number 43, below Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro at 36 and left-leaning Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in 33rd place.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who lives under house arrest, is the highest-placed woman, in 13th place.

The interactive Power Play game was run as part of the BBC World Service’s Who Runs Your World season, which examines where power lies in the world.

Users were required to pick at least one each from a select list of leaders, thinkers and economists, and had a free choice of any other eight, including the option of selecting “wild cards” from areas such as sport, politics, arts and design.

More than half of the votes in the poll came from people in the US.

Other placings include Osama bin Laden, at 70th, and Harry Potter author JK Rowling at 49th. reporter

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