Bulgaria’s ruling GERB keeps pre-election lead over Socialists

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Bulgaria’s ruling centre-right GERB party leads the opposition Socialists two weeks before an election but is on course to fall far short of a parliamentary majority, an opinion poll published this week showed.

The poll by independent research group Trend showed 28.8% of Bulgarians planning to vote on April 4 would support GERB, which is led by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, and 23.6% would support the Socialist Party.

The poll of 1,008 people, conducted between March 9 and 14, showed GERB’s support had slipped by 0.1 percentage point from a month earlier and the Socialists were down 0.5 percentage points.

Anti-corruption protests last summer dented the popularity of the government but GERB has slowly regained support since.

About 45% of respondents said they would vote in the election, which is taking place during a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the European Union’s poorest member state.

Political experts say a “national unity” government is possible.

The poll put There is Such A People, an anti-elite party led by TV talk show host and singer Slavi Trifonov, on 12.7% of votes. The ethnic-Turkish MRF party was on 12.1% and the Democratic Bulgaria coalition on 5.9%.

A centre-left coalition that emerged after the protests, Stand Up! Mafia Out!, and the nationalist VMRO party could also win seats in parliament, the poll showed.

Main Photo: Bulgarian prime minister and leader of centre-right GERB party Boiko Borissov . EPA/GEORGI LICOVSKI

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