Bulgaria’s 2023 municipal elections: GERB-Vuzrazhdane runoff in Varna – poll

An opinion poll by the Market Links agency, the results of which were released on October 17, sees the mayoral elections in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna on October 29 resulting in a runoff between incumbent Ivan Portnih of GERB and Kosta Stoyanov of Vuzrazhdane.

According to the poll, among those who have decided to vote 26 per cent support Portnih, 17 per cent Stoyanov, 15 per cent the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria candidate Blagomir Kotsev, 10 per cent Pavel Ralichkov of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and two per cent Ivailo Kostadinov of ITN.

There are 10 mayoral candidates in Varna in Bulgaria’s autumn 2023 municipal elections.

Portnih has been mayor since 2013 when he won a by-election after Kiril Yordanov resigned.

Portnih won a first-round victory in 2015, and in 2019, a second-round victory, defeating Vuzrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov.

The poll found that in the 2023 mayoral elections, a large number of Varna residents, 27 per cent of those polled, were yet to decide for whom to vote.

Dobromir Zhivkov told bTV that the difference between the second and third place was within the margin of statistical error, so the battle for second place would be interesting.

In a bTV television debate, in which Portnih declined to take part, Kotsev said that he had received information that GERB was buying votes on a large scale for Stoyanov, who would be the more “convenient” opponent for Portnih in a second-round contest. Stoyanov firmly rejected the allegation.

The Market Links poll found that for 43 per cent of those polled, the problem to be solved first was the cleanliness of Varna’s air and water. For 38 per cent, the fight against corruption should be a priority, 36 per cent want good governance and transparency, 31 per cent believed that the priority should be improving the condition of the city’s streets and pavements.

The poll was done by Market Links among 400 voters in Varna municipality from October 11 to 15. It was commissioned by bTV and carried out using the methods of direct personal interviews and online polling.

(Archive photo of Varna’s municipal headquarters: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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