Borissov’s GERB still strongest party, but sheds support – poll

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party remains by far the country’s strongest, but has lost support over the past year, according to the results of a poll by the Exacta research company released on April 4 2016.

Borissov’s GERB won the largest number of seats in Bulgaria’s National Assembly in October 2014 with a 32.67 per cent share of the vote, according to official results at the time.

An Exacta poll in March 2015 showed GERB with 27.4 per cent support, which according the firm’s poll results released in March 2016, dropped to 24.5 per cent. Exacta’s new poll, done between March 17 and 25 2016 among 1000 respondents in 89 cities and towns, showed GERB as having 24.3 per cent support.

The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which got 15.4 per cent of the vote in October 2014, was shown as having 11.1 per cent support by Exacta’s March 2015 poll. This rose to 12 per cent by March 2016 and to 13.2 per cent in the latest poll.

Hardest-hit has been the Bulgarian Parliament’s third-largest party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which in recent months has undergone severe turbulence with the ousting of Lyutvi Mestan as its leader after he publicly took a pro-Ankara stance in the Russia-Turkey dispute. The MRF currently has a leadership triumvirate, although the real power in the party is wielded by founder and honorary president Ahmed Dogan.

In the October 2014 elections, the MRF got 14.84 per cent of the vote. In March 2015, Exacta found it to have 8.2 per cent support, which dropped to six per cent by the beginning of March 2016 and now was seen at 5.7 per cent.

This puts, according to the Exacta poll, the MRF just ahead of the Reformist Bloc, the centre-right array of parties that is part of the Borissov government coalition deal, though the bloc has undergone its own turbulence, with Radan Kanev’s Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria going into opposition after the late 2015 row over judicial reform.

Still, the Reformist Bloc, which got 8.89 per cent in the October 2014 elections, had unchanged numbers – 5.5 per cent in March 2015, in February 2016 and again in March 2016.

The nationalist Patriotic Front (PF), the coalition that backs the coalition government in Parliament without having Cabinet seats, also showed unchanged results in Exacta’s poll. The PF, which got 7.28 per cent in the October 2014 elections, had 4.5 per cent support in March 2015, February 2016 and again in March 2016.

Two parties that got over the four per cent threshold for seats in the National Assembly in October 2014, each ending up with a matching number of seats to become Parliament’s two smallest parties, were seen by the Exacta poll as again below that threshold.

Volen Siderov’s Ataka, which got 4.52 per cent in the 2014 elections, has dropped from just below three per cent to 2.5 per cent in the past year, Exacta’s poll shows. Siderov and Ataka MP Dessislav Chukolov have been embroiled in a number of high-profile controversial confrontations in the past year, resulting in sentences for hooliganism and assault.

ABC, the party led by Georgi Purvanov and which is a minority partner in the coalition government, after winning a 4.15 per cent share of the vote in October 2014, now had 2.6 per cent support, down from a year ago but a very slight gain over the 2.5 per cent support shown in February 2016.

(Photo: (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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