About two-thirds of Bulgarians polled by the Sova Harris agency said that they would vote yes in a national referendum on January 27 2013 on the further development of nuclear energy capacity in the country.
The referendum is being held after a petition campaign by the opposition socialist party in 2012 after the centre-right Cabinet said that it was dropping plans, that date back three decades, to build a new nuclear power station at Belene on the Danube.
Ruling party GERB eventually voted in favour in a referendum but in the process of negotiations the specific reference to Belene was removed and the question now is solely about building further nuclear energy capacity.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and President Rossen Plevneliev both have spoken in favour of a no vote, Borissov making this position clear only in the past few days. According to the Sova Harris poll, 24 per cent said that they would vote no. Those voting no mainly were supporters of GERB, and two minority right-wing parties with a history of opposition to the Russian-linked Belene project, the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria and the Union of Democratic Forces.
However, those who said that they would vote yes included GERB supporters. The poll was done between December 14 and 19, before Borissov made his call to his party’s supporters to vote no. Others intending to vote yes included supporters of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (Ahmed Dogan’s party, previously in coalition government with the socialists), Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalist Ataka party and Meglena Kouneva’s Bulgaria for Citizens party.
However, the poll also showed that turnout may not be high enough for the referendum to be valid. Indications, according to the survey, were that about 3.2 million Bulgarians intended to vote on January 27. For the poll to be valid, a turnout of about 4.3 million is required.