A survey by international pollsters Gallup has found that on a list of “partly free” countries, the Bulgarian government in 2013 had the second-lowest approval rating in the world.
Released on October 20 2014, the Gallup Global States of Mind report was based on surveys in 2013 in 137 countries and areas.
Basing its categorisations of free, partly free or not free countries on the Freedom House 2013 Press Freedom rankings, the poll found that among “partly free” countries, the one with the lowest approval of the country’s leadership was Bosnia and Herzegovina, at eight per cent.
Bulgaria had the second-lowest rating, at 13 per cent, followed by Greece at 14 per cent. Romania, Peru and Moldova each had 18 per cent.
Among free countries, the Czech Republic was the lowest at 15 per cent, with Spain and Portugal each at 20 per cent.
In an overall introductory comment, Gallup said that in some countries, government restrictions prevented interviewers from asking select questions, “particularly sensitive questions related to government performance”.
The question put to respondents was, “Do you approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of this country?”
In 2013, Bulgaria had three governments.
The centre-right Boiko Borissov GERB government that had been in office since 2009 stepped down in March 2013 after an incident of violence in Sofia during protests mobilised against it on the grounds of cost-of-living issues, notably electricity prices.
A caretaker cabinet headed by career diplomat Marin Raykov was in office from March 12 to May 29.
Elections in May, held two months earlier than had been planned, resulted in GERB getting the most votes but finding itself in a National Assembly where it had no allies to form a majority to support a Borissov government.
The mandate to govern went to the second-ranked Bulgarian Socialist Party, which with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the tacit support of Ataka put in place an administration that became the subject of months of widely-supported public protests demanding its resignation after the abortive appointment of controversial figure Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security.
After months of recording low approval ratings and after the BSP was thrashed in Bulgaria’s May 2014 European Parliament elections, this cabinet stepped down. After October 5 early parliamentary elections, again won by GERB, Bulgaria currently is in the stewardship of another caretaker cabinet headed by Georgi Bliznashki pending GERB-led negotiations to form a government.
(Archive photo of June 2013 anti-government protests: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)