Bulgarians have a more positive view of Boiko Borissov in his second time around as prime minister, seeing him as more open to dialogue, more experienced and restrained and having toned down his media prominence, according to the results of a poll released on April 21.
Borissov was prime minister from 2009 to 2013, but stepped down when cost-of-living protests early that year turned violent, precipitating early elections.
While his centre-right GERB party got the most votes in the May 2013 elections, Borissov had no allies in parliament with which to form a government, and remained out of power while a Bulgarian Socialist Party-Movement for Rights and Freedoms ruling axis had stewardship of the country.
When that ruling axis collapsed amid widespread public rejection, Borissov again won the early parliamentary elections, returning to office as head of government with a coalition government involving the centre-right Reformist Bloc coalition, socialist breakaway minority party ABC and with support in the National Assembly from the nationalist coalition Patriotic Front.
According to the Exacta Research Group, one of Bulgaria’s few more reliable pollsters, Borissov’s GERB party remains the country’s strongest political force, with 25.1 per cent support in a poll done between April 1 and 9.
The beleaguered Bulgarian Socialist Party trails, as it did in the October parliamentary elections, a poor second, with 12.2 per cent support, according to Exacta.
The pollsters said that their survey showed public approval of the cabinet was stable over the past two months, 32 per cent in April after 31 per cent in March.
Negative evaluations of the work of Bulgaria’s Parliament, the National Assembly, were close to triple positive assessments, by 63 per cent to 22 per cent. However, in the past month, the approval rating of Parliament had gone up by four per cent, its disapproval rating falling at the same time by four per cent, to 63 per cent.
Mirroring the findings of an Alpha Research poll released on April 20, Exacta said that the cabinet minister with the highest approval rating was Liliyana Pavlova (53 per cent, a five per cent gain over March), with Health Minister Petar Moskov in second place (49 per cent, stable from last month) and with Deputy Prime Minister and Labour and Social Policy Minister Ivailo Kalfin, of the ABC party, in third place with 43 per cent approval, a gain of three per cent since last month.
Like Alpha Research, Exacta found a slide in the approval rating of head of state President Rossen Plevneliev, down three per cent since last month, to 36 per cent.
Again, like Alpha Research, Exacta found that the Movement for Rights and Freedoms was the party with the third-largest support, 7.5 per cent in April 2015. The Reformist Bloc had 5.5 per cent and the Patriotic Front five per cent.
The two smallest parties in the current Parliament, Ataka and ABC, respectively had three per cent and 2.5 per cent.
Results of surveys of opinions of parliamentary leaders also were similar to those found by Alpha Research a day before.
Exacta noted that its poll was done with no parliamentary elections in the offing, but if there really were elections, a new Parliament would look similar to the current one, except that Bulgaria Without Censorship – the populist party formed around former talk show host Nikolai Barekov – which has been in a continuous downward series of implosions, had no chance of returning to a new Parliament.
The agency said that there was a lot of interest in Velizar Enchev’s newly-founded Bulgarian Spring, which had 15 per cent support, having taken support mainly from those who had voted for Ataka, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and ABC.
Valeri Simeonov, co-leader of the Patriotic Front coalition and leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria party, saw his approval rating rise by five per cent to 25 per cent. The Patriotic Front’s other co-leader, VMRO party leader Krassimir Karakachanov, saw his approval rating go up to 27 per cent, a four per cent increase.
GERB parliamentary group leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov had an approval rating unchanged at 21 per cent, with Reformist Bloc parliamentary group co-leader Radan Kanev recording the same, unchanged, figure.
Ataka leader Volen Siderov had an approval rating doubled to 12 per cent. This was just four per cent less than BSP leader Mihail Mikov. The approval rating of Mikov, elected leader of the ailing party in 2014, was lower than that of several high-profile members of Parliament for the BSP.
The country’s most-approved politician was Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, with 64 per cent approval, up by nine per cent since March. Elected on a GERB ticket, mayor of the capital city since 2009, and having won a first-round victory in the most recent mayoral elections, Fandukova – like all of Bulgaria’s other mayors and municipal councillors – will face local elections in October 2015.
The Exacta poll found that 37 per cent of Bulgarians were optimistic about the country’s future and 44 per cent about their own future.
Exacta said that its poll was done among 1000 adult Bulgarians, interviewed in their homes between April 1 and 9, in 88 cities and towns. The agency paid for the poll itself, it said.