Fifth of Bulgarians Would Have Voted for New Party in December

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Bulgaria: Fifth of Bulgarians Would Have Voted for New Party in December File photo, BGNES

As many as 19% of Bulgarians would have cast a ballot for a new political party if one were to appear in a hypothetical election at the end of December, a fresh poll shows.

Voters inclined to back a new political organization are mainly men aged between 50 and 60, high-income and highly educated respondents, right-wing voters, and residents of regional centers (the main cities of Bulgaria's 28 regions), according to data from Exacta Research Group released on Tuesday.

The poll, conducted among 1000 adults between December 27 and December 30, 2016, comes several months ahead of an early election due at the end of March or early in April.

Those saying they would vote for a new party include 40% of the current electorate of the Reformist Bloc and Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), the pollster says.

The Reformist Bloc, a loose alliance of right-wing and centrist parties, is the junior coalition partner in the outgoing Bulgarian government, while DSB is a hardline party which splintered off the RB, having been in opposition for a year before taking the step.

"The profile of support for new parties shows social expectations for new organizations mainly on the right side of the political spectrum," according to Exacta.

After former Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov announced plans to set up his Yes, Bulgaria project (which grew into a party over the weekend, days after the poll was conducted) in December, approval of such a project was measured at 14%, the pollster says. It stops short of saying this translates into voter support.

As for DSB and its leader Radan Kanev, who blames their former allies from the RB for not standing ground in the dialogue with senior coalition partner GERB, approval for them stood at 15% at the end of December, an increase compared to the time of the presidential campaign.

However, just 11% of Bulgarians have shown their approval of a future union between Radan Kanev and Hristo Ivanov, while 28% say they would see it as a negative development and 60% say they have no opinion.

Figures in Exacta's poll confirms the conclusions of other surveys that the margin between the biggest parties, conservative GERB of Boyko Borisov and socialist BSP of Korneliya Ninova, is melting down.

Some 26.1% of respondents said they would back GERB, while 24.9% preferred their socialist opposition.

The United Patriots - an ad hoc alliance of the Patriotic Front coalition and Ataka party, would have got 10.5% if an election were to take place in December.

Ethnic Turk-dominated DPS party, currently the third-largest parliamentary force, would get some 4.5%.

The Reformist Bloc itself would not pass the election threshold, garnering just 3.5% of the vote.

Businessman Veselin Mareshki's party, Volya ("Will"), would get 3.3%, while DSB would earn 2.1% by running alone.

The poll does not ask for Yes, Bulgaria party, which had not been founded at that moment.

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Tags: Exacta Research Group, poll, GERB, BSP, DPS, DSB, United Patriots, Radan Kanev, Hristo Ivanov, Yes Bulgaria, Reformist Bloc
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