Poll: Almost two-thirds of Bulgarians expect early elections, as major parties lose support

Fifty-seven per cent of Bulgarians polled by Alpha Research expect that the country will again hold early elections, as the agency’s poll found decreases in support for major political parties.

The results of the poll were released on December 18.

The poll found that 35 per cent of Bulgarians believed that there would be social protests and unrest, while 27 per cent expected confrontation and instability.

Alpha Research said that two months after Bulgaria’s most recent early parliamentary elections, held on October 2 2022, political parties and their leaders were “falling into the spiral of declining public trust”.

This trend affected all major political parties.

If election were held next Sunday, only 35 per cent of Bulgarians eligible to vote would go to the polls.

Boiko Borissov’s GERB party continued to have the largest share of support, at 23.4 per cent, but was two points down compared with the support it had in October.

Borissov had an approval rating of 19.6 per cent and a disapproval rating of 55.7 per cent.

The Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change (WCC) party was in second place, with 17.7 per cent, and had shed 2.5 points since October.

Approval of Petkov and Vassilev had fallen, from 23 per cent to about 15 to 16 per cent, while for the first time, their disapproval ratings had passed the 50 per cent mark, the polling agency said.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), in third place, had the lowest outflow of support, and remained in its customary place with 10.4 per cent support. MRF leader had an approval rating of 10.1 per cent and had the highest disapproval rating of a political party leader, at 57.4 per cent.

Kostadin Kostadinov’s pro-Russian party Vuzrazhdane was the other party with relatively lighter losses, with support at 10 per cent. Kostadinov had an approval rating of 13.9 per cent and a disapproval rating of 55.5 per cent.

Support for Kornelia Ninova’s Bulgarian Socialist Party weakened from 9.3 per cent in October to 8.5 per cent in early December. Ninova’s approval rating has dropped by four points, to 14.1 per cent, while her disapproval rating was 55.1 per cent.

The Democratic Bulgaria coalition has lost one point in the past two months, and has 6.5 per cent support. As to the three co-leaders, Hristo Ivanov has 14.5 per cent approval and 47.9 per cent disapproval, Vladislav Panev 9.2 per cent approval and 33.3 per cent disapproval, and Atanas Atanassov 8.3 per cent approval and 52.5 per cent disapproval.

Stefan Yanev’s Bulgaria Ascending had 4.3 per cent support, just over the threshold to win a share of seats in the National Assembly. Yanev has 17.5 per cent approval and 30.8 per cent disapproval.

Alpha Research said that 15.2 per cent of those polled intended to vote, but had not yet decided for which party. These included supporters of parties that had not won seats in Parliament, but also supporters of WCC and of Bulgaria Ascending.

As an institution, the 48th National Assembly – elected in October – had an approval rating of seven per cent and 63 per cent disapproval. In the past 13 years, figures of this kind had been seen only at the end of the 42nd National Assembly, at the time of the “Oresharski” administration. At that point, the 42nd National Assembly had eight per cent disapproval and 65 per cent disapproval.

Support for President Roumen Radev had eroded, even though he remained Bulgaria’s most-approved political figure.

His confrontations with the political parties, atypical handling of the presidential institution and his responsibility for the actions of the caretaker government had resulted in a decline in trust of Radev.

For the first time since Radev became head of state, the gap between approval and disapproval had shrunk to two points. Since the start of his second term, approval of Radev had fallen from 51 per cent to 36 per cent, while disapproval of him rose from 23 per cent to 34 per cent.

The Alpha Research poll was done between December 1 and 13 among 1023 adult Bulgarians from all over the country, through direct standardised interviews using tables. A two-level sample stratified by region and type of settlement was used, with quotas for gender, age, and education. It is published on the agency’s website and was paid for by Alpha Research itself.

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