The election of Kornelia Ninova as the new leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party has seen support for that party increase to its highest level in the past three years, now at 15.4 per cent, according to the results of a poll released by the Exacta research agency on June 8.
Ninova was elected BSP leader on May 8, defeating Mihail Mikov who had held the post since July 2014.
The Exacta poll, done between May 25 and 31 among a sample of 1000 Bulgarians, showed the BSP increasing from the 13.2 per cent it was found to have in a poll a month earlier. Coincidentally, the 15.4 per cent in the May 2016 Exacta poll is the same figure the party got in Bulgaria’s October 2014 early parliamentary elections.
The May 2016 poll found Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party to have 26.5 per cent support – a gain over the previous month.
Borissov’s GERB won the largest number of seats in Bulgaria’s National Assembly in October 2014 with a 32.67 per cent share of the vote, according to official results at the time.
An Exacta poll in March 2015 showed GERB with 27.4 per cent support, which according the firm’s poll results released in March 2016, dropped to 24.5 per cent. Exacta’s poll results released in April 2016 showed GERB as having 24.3 per cent support.
In third place in terms of support was the centre-right coalition Reformist Bloc, with 5.6 per cent. This is a slight gain over the bloc’s previous Exacta poll numbers – 5.5 per cent in March 2015, in February 2016 and again in March 2016.
Fourth was the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which has undergone severe turbulence in recent months, with ousted leader Lyutvi Mestan taking a few MPs out of the parliamentary group from which he was expelled. In April 2016, Mustafa Karadaya was named the MRF’s new leader.
Exacta said that the MRF had 5.4 per cent support, a further decrease compared with recent months.
In the October 2014 elections, the MRF got 14.84 per cent of the vote. In March 2015, Exacta found it to have 8.2 per cent support, which dropped to six per cent by the beginning of March 2016 and in April was seen at 5.7 per cent.
The nationalist Patriotic Front had 4.5 per cent, according to Exacta’s May 2016 poll.
The PF, which got 7.28 per cent in the October 2014 elections, had 4.5 per cent support in March 2015, February 2016 and again in March 2016.
Georgi Purvanov’s socialist minority party ABC had 2.6 per cent support, according to Exacta’s May 2016 poll. ABC left the coalition government on May 10.
ABC won a 4.15 per cent share of the vote in October 2014, and in April 2016 was said by Exacta to have 2.6 per cent support.
Volen Siderov’s Ataka continued its slide, with Exacta finding that in May 2016 it had 1.5 per cent support, well below the four per cent threshold for elections to Parliament. The previous month, Ataka had 2.5 per cent support, down from three per cent a year earlier. Siderov and Ataka MP Dessislav Chukolov have been embroiled in a number of high-profile controversial confrontations in the past year, resulting in sentences for hooliganism and assault.
(Photo of Ninova: BSP; photo of Borissov via his Facebook page)