Bulgaria’s GERB party keeps slim lead before July election

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Bulgaria’s centre-right GERB party has a slim lead over the anti-establishment ITN before a July 11 election, an opinion poll showed this week.

It maintained its lead despite a drop in support since the United States imposed sanctions on two Bulgarian oligarchs and four former and current officials over alleged corruption on June 2.

The parliamentary election next month was called after an April 4 election resulted in a deadlocked parliament that failed to produce a government. The president has appointed a caretaker cabinet to lead the Balkan country until the July election.

After being in office for most of the past decade, GERB remains the most popular party with 20.3% support, down from 26.2% in the April election, according to an opinion poll carried out by independent pollster Alpha Research between May 30 and June 7 among 1,007 people.

“After the sanctions… the vote for GERB decreased by 2%, which is its most significant decline for such a short period,” Alpha Research said.

GERB, led by three-time prime minister Boyko Borissov, won more votes than any other party in the April election but not enough to govern alone. Other parties refused to join it in a coalition amid widespread public anger over corruption in the European Union’s poorest member state.

ITN (There Is Such a People), led by TV talk show host Slavi Trifonov, had 18.2% support in the new opinion poll compared to 17.7% in the April election.

The new opinion poll suggested that neither GERB, nor ITN will be able to win an outright majority in parliament.

The survey put the Socialists on 14.4%. The anti-corruption Democratic Bulgaria alliance and the ethnic Turkish MRF were seen winning 11.9% and 9.9% respectively.

Another protest party, Rise Up! Mafia Out!, was on 5.3%, the survey showed.

Photo: A women passes in front of campaign posters for the Parliamentary elections in the town of Dupnicha , Bulgaria. EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV