The approval rating ofBulgaria’s centre-right GERB Government headed by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov increased year-on-year by three per cent to 36 per cent in May 2012 and the administration is widely expected to serve out its full term, going by the results of a survey by the National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion.
WithBulgaria’s 2013 national parliamentary elections about a year away, Borissov’s GERB party has about 31.1 per cent support, the equivalent of about 71 per cent of the vote it attracted to bring it to power in National Assembly elections in July 2009.
Running second is the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), with just less than 18 per cent support, about 80 per cent of the vote it got in 2009, according to the pollsters’ figures.
Ironically, only one individual associated with the BSP is in the top 10 most popular politicians – Georgi Purvanov, who was the country’s President from 2002 to the beginning of 2012 and who in May lost a party leadership battle against his former protégé, Sergei Stanishev. Purvanov ranked ninth in the poll, with 40.4 per cent.
Among the political parties, Ahmed Dogan’s Movement for Rights and Freedoms – the party led and supported in the main by Bulgarians of ethnic Turkish descent – had seven per cent support, about 80 per cent of its 2009 vote.
Former European commissioner and failed 2011 presidential candidate Meglena Kouneva’s fledging party, Citizens for Bulgaria, was given 5.5 per cent support, according to the polling agency. This is in line with other polls about Kouneva’s party, which is yet to be formally registered. Kouneva’s publicly-stated ambition is to achieve a 15 per cent voter support in 2013.
According to the polling agency, support for the parties of the centre-right Blue Coalition, which in May effectively imploded because one of its constituent parties, the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), declined to continue the coalition into the 2013 election, was difficult to assess.
But most seasoned political observers regard the UDF as having little more than a scant chance of a few seats in Parliament after the 2013 parliamentary elections.
Similarly, the agency also found support for Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalist party Ataka difficult to read. Other polls have predicted oblivion for Ataka in 2013 elections, after the controversies, defections and dissension that have wracked Siderov’s party in recent months.
According to the poll,Bulgaria’s most popular politician is Yordanka Fandukova, who in 2011 won a second term of office asSofiamayor, with the backing of Borissov’s GERB party. The poll gave Fandukova 61.4 per cent approval rating.
President Rossen Plevneliev, elected in 2011 on the ticket of Borissov’s party and who took office in January 2012, was ratedBulgaria’s second-most popular politician, at 53.5 per cent, and Borissov was in third place with 50 per cent.
The others who made it into the top 10 were, in fourth place, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov (44.3 per cent), fifth, Regional Development and Public Works Minister Liliana Pavlova (who was promoted in 2011 to succeed Plevneliev when he left the Cabinet to stand in the presidential elections, and who has a 43.9 per cent approval rating), sixth, Agriculture and Food Minister Miroslav Naidenov (43.8 per cent), seventh, Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov (41.9 per cent).
Kouneva was eighth with 41.2 per cent, Purvanov ninth at 39.9 per cent and Vice President Margarita Popova was in 10th place at 39.9 per cent.
These figures, according to the agency, represented two per cent gains month-on-month for Tsvetanov and Foreign Minister Mladenov and three per cent for Naidenov.
The highest rates of increase in approval rating were those of Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Delyan Dobrev, by 11 per cent (in March 2012, Dobrev succeeded his axed predecessor, Traicho Traikov), Health Minister Desislava Atanasova, also by 11 per cent (in March 2012, Atanasova succeeded her axed predecessor Stefan Konstantinov) and Pavlova, by five per cent.
The National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion said that the poll was done between May 23 and 30 among 1000 adult Bulgarians across the country.
(Photo of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov by European People’s Party)