Bulgaria: Poll finds deepening crisis of trust in institutions, political leaders and parties

A new poll by the Alpha Research agency has found a deepening crisis of trust in all institutions, political leaders and parties in Bulgaria.

Commenting on the results of the poll, released on December 5, Alpha Research said that six months after the difficult formation of the Nikolai Denkov government and a month after municipal elections that did not show a significant change in the political picture, most Bulgarians have a negative view of the main state institutions and political leaders.

The Cabinet has an approval rating of 21 per cent, similar to that found in a poll in June, but a 46 per cent disapproval rating, up by close to 10 per cent.

Confidence in Prime Minister Denkov is slightly higher, a 25 per cent approval rating against a 39 per cent disapproval rating, the latter also having increased.

Both the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are in the disadvantageous situation of being supported only by Democratic Bulgaria and We Continue the Change supporters – between 65 and 70 per cent of them, – but not by their “non-coalition” partner GERB, where the disapproval rating is 39 per cent and the approval rating 25 per cent.

Against this background, most Bulgarians expect continuing internal conflicts and disputes among those in power, a worsening economic situation next year, but with no clarity on a new political configuration.

The poll found that every second Bulgarian – 49.7 per cent – expects that along with the rotation of prime ministers in March 2024 (when, if all goes according to plan, GERB’s Maria Gabriel will succeed Denkov as Prime Minister), there will be a serious overhaul of the Cabinet.

Thirty-one per cent expect that only the PM will change, without a Cabinet reshuffle, while 19 per cent believe that the government will fall and Bulgaria will go to early parliamentary elections.

The occupation of the opposition niche by some of the parties declaring support for the Cabinet has not led to an increase in approval either of Parliament, as a place for debate, or of individual political forces.

“Everyone loses – some more, some less,” Alpha Research said.

Parliament remains “anchored to the bottom of the public ratings” with an approval rating of eight per cent and a disapproval rating of 59 per cent.

Among the institutions of state, only President Roumen Radev has managed to maintain a positive rating, which had gone down while the caretaker governments he had appointed were in office.

Currently, Radev’s approval rating is 38 per cent, up by five per cent compared with June, while his disapproval rating remains at 32 per cent.

The most critical of Radev were supporters of GERB and Democratic Bulgaria, while the rest had more positive or contradictory assessments, the agency said.

GERB leader Boiko Borissov suffered relatively the least damage, a two per cent drop in his approval rating, to 19.2 per cent, while his disapproval rating remained 54 per cent.

The co-leaders of We Continue the Change, Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev, also have each lost about two per cent support, falling to 14 per cent approval rating, but their disapproval ratings had gone up, to 61 to 64 per cent.

Democratic Bulgaria co-leader Hristo Ivanov retains his 16 per cent approval rating, but also has an increased disapproval rating, from 46 per cent to 52 per cent.

Vuzrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov (approval rating 16 per cent, disapproval 55 per cent), Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova (approval 13 per cent, disapproval 53 per cent) and ITN leader Slavi Trifonov (approval 13 per cent, disapproval 50 per cent) are seeing growing distrust even among some of their voters who until recently were loyal to them.

Movement for Rights and Freedoms parliamentary leader Delyan Peevski has a lower approval rating and a higher disapproval rating than MRF founder and honorary president Ahmedi Dogan.

Peevski’s approval rating is 6.1 per cent and disapproval 70.3 per cent, while Dogan has an approval rating of 12.1 per cent and a disapproval rating of 60.1 per cent.

Alpha Research said that these levels of support for politicians, parties and institutions, it was not surprising that the percentage of those willing to vote in possible elections had decreased even further, to 36 per cent.

According to the poll, were parliamentary elections to be held now, GERB would get 21.9 per cent, WCC-DB 17.8 per cent, Vuzrazhdane 12.2 per cent, the MRF 10.8 per cent, the BSP 9.6 per cent and ITN 4.9 per cent.

A total of 7.3 per cent of those polled would be voting for some other political grouping, while 15.5 per cent were undecided.

The poll was done from November 22 to 30 2023 by Alpha Research, has been posted on the agency’s website and was carried out using the agency’s own funds. The poll was done among 1000 adult citizens from all over the country. A stratified two-stage sample was used with a quota according to the main socio-demographic characteristics. The poll was done through a direct standardised interview with tablets at the homes of the respondents.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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