Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party has the largest share of support, 17.5 per cent, ahead of the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s (BSP) 15.2 per cent, in the runup to Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections in May, polling agency Alpha Research said on March 28.
The poll, by arguably the country’s most reliable opinion survey company, was done between March 20 and 24 among 1010 respondents countrywide.
This is the third consecutive month that an Alpha Research poll has shown GERB ahead of the BSP, this time with a slight increase in the gap between Bulgaria’s two major political parties.
In third place was the BSP’s ruling axis partner, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, at 6.9 per cent. This represents no significant change in support for the MRF, but over a month, its leader Lyutiv Mestan dropped from 10 to seven per cent support.
Bulgaria Without Censorship (BWC), the party formed around former television talk show host Nikolai Barekov, had 5.2 per cent, followed by the centre-right Reformist Bloc, an alliance of a number of parties that currently have no seats in the National Assembly, at 5.1 per cent. Month-on-month, Barekov’s BWC has lost support, from 5.5 per cent in February. As an individual, so had Barekov, shedding three per cent support in a month.
Georgi Purvanov’s ABC, a left-wing movement made up of people opposed to the current leadership of the BSP, had four per cent, according to the Alpha Research poll. For Purvanov’s movement, the drop in support month-on-month is significant, from 6.1 per cent in February.
Public confidence in the current government, formed in May 2013 after a mandate to govern was handed to the BSP, remains critically low at 19 per cent.
The 42nd National Assembly has an approval rating of just eight per cent.
Since June 2013, there have been widely-supported calls for the resignation of the current Bulgarian government and the dissolution of the 42nd National Assembly to make way for fresh elections, calls spurred first by the abortive appointment of Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security and later lent momentum by further missteps and controversies involving what BSP leader Sergei Stanishev initially had claimed to be an “expert” government.
Alpha Research noted an increasing polarisation in attitudes, especially towards President Rossen Plevneliev, Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov and Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev.
These three remain the most-approved public figures in Bulgaria, but public confidence in each is diminishing.
Plevneliev, head of state since January 2012 after being elected on a GERB ticket, has been on the receiving end of a determined campaign to discredit him in recent months, especially on the part of the BSP, far-right ultranationalists Ataka, and BWC. There also have been tussles over Plevneliev’s vetoes of various items of legislation pushed through Parliament by the ruling axis, from a 2013 Budget revision to laws on pharmaceuticals to the highly controversial BSP rewrite of election laws.
Alpha Research said that Plevneliev had an approval rating of 27 per cent, against 37 per cent critical assessments.
The dispute between Russia and Ukraine over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its overall intervention in Ukrainian affairs has caused unease among the electorate of the BSP, which has the most pronounced pro-Russian orientation, because of contradictory statements from the BSP leadership on the issue.
According to Alpha Research, the Ukraine-Russia situation could give new impetus to the ultra-nationalist section of Bulgaria’s political spectrum, but – according to Alpha Research – Volen Siderov’s Ataka had failed to capitalise and continued to lag behind rivals the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria, which had 3.6 per cent against Ataka’s two per cent. These figures also left both ultra-nationalist parties outside the European Parliament.