Bulgarian public opinion strongly supports protests against Peevski appointment – survey

The protests against the appointment of Delyan Peevski as director of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) had wide public support, but the demands for the resignation of Plamen Oresharski’s government did not receive the same unequivocal backing, a survey by polling agency Alpha Research showed on June 19.

A total of 85 per cent of the respondents said that they supported the protests against Peevski’s appointment, with only 10 per cent opposing them.

About 71 per cent of the interviewees also agreed with the protests against the appointment of regional governors perceived as nominees of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, one of the two parties in the ruling coalition. Plovdiv and Blagoevgrad have been the focus of such protests in recent days.

However, only 51 per cent of the respondents backed the demand for Oresharski’s resignation, while 42 per cent were opposed.

Asked about what should be the outcome of the ongoing protests, the most frequent answer was the election of a new SANS director (59 per cent of respondents), Peevski losing his status as MP (51 per cent), snap parliamentary elections (42 per cent) and Oresharski’s resignation (33 per cent).

Oresharski’s approval rating as prime minister was 29 per cent, the same as Boiko Borissov’s in January 2013, shortly before Borissov’s resignation; 25 per cent disapproved of Oresharski, compared to 40 per cent for Borissov in January. However, Oresharski fares much worse compared to Borissov’s number at the start of his term in July 2009 – 60 per cent approval and only 10 per cent disapproval.

Asked to describe their first impression of the Oresharski government, 53 per cent opted for “unprincipled, favouring specific economic and political circles”, while 39 per cent said the Cabinet had pursued “principled measures for the benefit of the society”.

Only 18 per cent of the respondents expected the government to last its full term, while 20 per cent said it would hold on for a year or two; 37 per cent said they expected the cabinet to last only several months.

“This short horizon of expectations augurs strong societal sensitivity to every government action and an unpredictable development of public attitudes,” Alpha Research said.

The 42nd National Assembly had an approval rating of 14 per cent, a bump of only five points compared to the previous legislature when its term was ended several months early in March. The ratio of those who disapproved of Parliament, however, dropped from 60 per cent in March to 39 per cent in June, while 47 per cent had no opinion.

“This is the lowest starting point in the entire period monitored by Alpha Research, going back to 1997. The previous legislature, which was also very closely contested, only reached similar numbers after two years in office,” the polling agency said.

President Rossen Plevneliev was the only politician to see an increase in his public approval rating – from 32 per cent in March to 44 per cent in June, while the ratio of those who disapproved fell from 19 per cent to 17 per cent.

Concerning Plevneliev’s sharp reaction to the Peevski appointment on June 14, 30 per cent of the respondents said that it improved their opinion of the president and only 15 per cent were disappointed.

The survey was carried out on June 13-18, coinciding with the anti-government protests in Sofia and other Bulgarian cities and towns, on a representative sample of 1019 people.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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