With a few days to go before the official campaigning period ahead of Bulgaria’s July 11 early parliamentary elections, Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF electoral coalition has 20.3 per cent of support among those who intend to vote, with Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party close behind at 18.2 per cent, according to the results of a poll released by Alpha Research on June 9.
In third place is Kornelia Ninova’s Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) at 14.4 per cent, Democratic Bulgaria (DB) at 11.9 per cent, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) at 9.9 per cent and the “Rise Up! Mobsters Out!” coalition at 5.3 per cent.
According to the Alpha Research poll, currently below the four per cent threshold to win a share of seats in the National Assembly are the ultra-nationalist “Bulgarian Patriots” coalition (VMRO, Volya and the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria) 3.4 per cent and the pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane party at 2.8 per cent.
Vassil Bozhkov’s Bulgarian Summer party has 1.1 per cent support, the poll found. On June 2, Bozhkov was among those named by the United States as subject to sanctions.
Alpha Research said that after the announcement of US sanctions against Delyan Peevski and Bozhkov, the vote for GERB decreased by two per cent, the most significant decline for Borissov’s party in such a short period.
GERB is losing ground, except in Sofia. Its hard-line supporters are highly mobilised, but the wider periphery may not go to the polls, the polling agency said.
The absence of ITN from the media and public debates meant that it had not significantly gained ground compared with its result in the April 4 elections. Trifonov’s party had growth of about one per cent.
Uncertainty about electoral support for ITN had been increased by the contradictory signals about the future of Trifonov, the pollsters said.
This week, Trifonov said that he would not stand as a candidate MP “because my place is not there, but to be responsible for the people who are there and what they do. Of course, I can bear this responsibility from another institution, but as to that…when the time comes”.
Exit polls in April had shown that about 20 per cent of ITN voters had decided to vote for the party in the final days before the vote.
“Such mobilisation cannot be ruled out now, but hesitation at the beginning of the campaign, especially among those who are closely following political life, contributes to the potential volatility of this vote and a possible reorientation to other protest parties.”
The BSP was failing to increase its result because voters were demotivated by internal party relations while there was a growing attitude to vote for far-left parties.
“However, during the campaign, the BSP may impose a more convincingly chosen formula for participation in the elections, and the process of legitimising it through the caretaker government as part of the ‘anti-status’ parties will help attract hesitant voters from other parties.”
DB was strengthening its position, Alpha Research said.
“Contrary to GERB, after the US sanctions and their (DB’s) stated support for decisive anti-corruption policies, it consolidated additional support. It is expanding its influence in the regional centres and especially among people with higher education.”
Alpha Research said that it was usual for the MRF to strengthen its position at the end of the campaign and especially among voters abroad.
The voters of “Rise Up! Mobsters Out” had a similar profile to those of Trifonov “radical-emotional and highly mobile” which is why it was possible for them to vote for other anti-systemic parties.
The polling agency said that at the start of the election campaign, the possibility of a fragmented National Assembly, with six or seven groups, was emerging again.
At the moment, the isolation of and attacks against GERB are leading to a decline, but not to a collapse, in its support.
“It is very likely that the protest parties will be in a better position in the next Parliament. In certain circumstances, a stronger convergence of positions between them is also possible.”
Most Bulgarians expect the next Parliament to form a government.
While 33.1 per cent had positive views of the caretaker government and 23 per cent had negative views, the largest share, 43.9 per cent, had mixed views, which also led to people wanting a functioning Parliament and an elected government.
Alpha Research said that 53.2 per cent of those polled intended to vote in the July elections, an increase of about 1.5 per cent compared with the agency’s poll done ahead of the election campaign for the April vote.
The poll was done by Alpha Research between May 30 and June 7. The agency used its own funds, and published the results on its website. The survey was done among 1007 adult citizens from all over the country. A stratified two-stage sample with quotas of the main socio-demographic characteristics was used. The information was gathered through a direct standardised interview with tablets in the homes of the respondents.
Alpha Research is responsible for the data and interpretation published on its website, but not for the selective or manipulative use of such data, the agency said.
(Photo: Interior Ministry)
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