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Star power: An astrologer’s take on global leadership

What’s your sign, Vladimir?

Will leadership traits emerge? (Nastya Dulhiier/Unsplash)
Will leadership traits emerge? (Nastya Dulhiier/Unsplash)
Published 20 Dec 2023   Follow @JiaDeng569589

Righto, the silly season is here. The end of year in Australia presages bubbly work parties and a long summer break. So, for some downtime, what do we Lowy Institute data-crunchers do when not hard at work in our day jobs as the keystroke masters feeding in the stats behind the Asia Power Index, Southeast Asia and Pacific aid maps?

Here’s an idea we pitched to a slightly furrowed Interpreter editor. How about we figure out the star signs of global leaders for a laugh?

Astrology? What a dismal science. But funnily enough, when you collect and analyse data on the star signs of 337 world leaders from 208 countries, like we did, you find something altogether surprising. The very characteristics people probably think of that make for strong world leaders – charisma, intelligence, foresight, empathy, fortitude – highly match those leaders’ traits when projected on an astrology chart.

Now take a breath. We’re not dealing tarot cards. We know that if you generalise enough, these broad categories could fit just about anyone. But play along for a moment. It’s the silly season, remember.

When you collect and analyse data on the star signs of 337 world leaders from 208 countries, like we did, you find something altogether surprising.

Of the collected presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens and general secretaries in the world, we found the most prevalent star sign among our dataset of world leaders to be Sagittarius, with 36 leaders (more than ten per cent of the total) born between 22 November and 21 December. Sagittarians are well regarded for their optimism, independence and openness to exploration. And their most important trait, recognised by astrologers, is a strong sense of responsibility.

Take French President Emmanuel Macron, for example – who in a few days turns 46. Despite being much criticised, he has for years promoted the idea of European agency, which, in his own words, means that Europe can “choose our partners and shape our own destiny”. Responsibility, indeed.

Who is holding the hammer? (@EmmanuelMacron/X)
Who is holding the hammer? (@EmmanuelMacron/X)

Pisces (19 February – 20 March) is the second-most prevalent star sign for state leaders, with 34 in total. Symbolised by two fish swimming in opposite directions, it represents the innermost struggle between reality and imagination, truth and illusion. If only Donald Trump was one. But no, he was born in June. Besides, the tensions for Pisceans are said to be generated by pragmatic, empathetic, adaptive and creative qualities. Pisces is governed by Neptune, a celestial body in astrology that rules the domain of ideals and urges the transcendence of reality. With Neptunian energy, Pisceans tend to make sacrifices for the higher good.

Behold, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is a Pisces – and surely his China policy has demonstrated the characteristics typical of his star sign. After 18 months of effort by the PM and his team to stabilise bilateral relations, Albanese finally visited Beijing in November, the first trip to China by an Australian PM in seven years.

Gemini (21 May – 20 June) is next, with 32 leaders in all. Trump is one. So is China’s President Xi Jinping. Gemini is Latin for twins, represented by Castor and Pollux, the mythical twin brothers that stand for strength and unity. In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux are depicted as extraordinary fighters and horse tamers. They took notable joint adventures, for example, rescuing their abducted sister Helen and participating in the hunt for the gigantic Calydonian boar. Geminis are also highly perceptive people with a deep desire to try new ideas. They are energetic and wonderfully expressive, so there will never be a dull moment when people spend time with them.

Trump is famously combative, politically. And Xi has ensured his favoured term, 敢于斗争 (“dare to struggle/fight”), has been prevalent across China’s political discourse. Among many different interpretations, it may imply Beijing’s heightened awareness about potential challenges to its interests.

Aquarians (which includes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy), Leos (Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim) and Virgos (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi) rank equal fourth, each with 28. Aquarians are considered as independent, confident, analytical and problem-solving types. Scorpios, such as US President Joe Biden, are regarded as intelligent, hardworking, ambitious and good planners, but along with Librans (Russian President Vladimir Putin), make up the middle of the pack in terms of numbers of leaders (26 each).

Then follows Aries, Cancer and Taurus (25), with Capricorn being the least common (24). Born between 20 April and 20 May, those with the star sign Taurus are graceful, diligent, reliable and resilient, with a marvellous ability to concentrate. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is one.

A warning, however. Our astrological musings on world leaders should not be considered a voting field guide in the big year of elections ahead.

All the best for the silly season.

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