A lack of job opportunities, depopulation of the regions outside the cities and poor infrastructure are the foremost concerns in most Bulgarian municipalities with four months to go to local elections in October 2015, an Alpha Research poll has found.
The continuing exodus of people of working area to the large cities and out of Bulgaria has meant dramatic change in the economic and social picture in the regions, increasing risks of petty crime, ghettoisation and manipulation of the vote, the pollsters said.
The poll by Alpha Research, which is among the more reliable of Bulgaria’s opinion polling agencies, was done between June 7 and 13 among a sample of more than 1000 people, as part of a regular series by the agency.
In Bulgaria’s four largest cities, Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Bourgas, the leading concerns were different – corruption and poor administrative services for residents.
Were national parliamentary elections to be held, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party would get the most support, 21.9 per cent, with the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party again running a poor second, at 11.5 per cent.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms was in its customary third place, at 7.3 per cent, the centre-right coalition Reformist Bloc and the nationalist Patriotic Front each have 5.7 per cent, socialist breakaway ABC 3.5 per cent and far-right Ataka 3.2 per cent.
However, Alpha Research said that the electoral picture at the municipal elections could be very different, given the combination of the majoritarian vote system and local specifics.
On average across the country, 51 per cent of those polled favoured keeping their current mayors and 47 per cent wanted a change.
Alpha Research that it was likely that in many places, the outcome of the race would be decided in the second round, and would depend on the skills of the candidates in attracting public support, rather than just their party affiliation.
(The screenshot shows the legal notice required in Bulgaria at election times, ‘buying and selling of votes is a crime’.)