2/3 of Bulgarians to Vote 'Yes' at Nuclear Referendum - Poll
Around 2/3 of Bulgarians who plan to vote at the January 27 referendum will back the construction of a new nuclear power plant, according to a national representative survey of polling agency Sova Harris.
The opinion poll, ordered by Presa daily, indicates that the people who back the development of nuclear energy in Bulgaria through the construction of a new nuclear power plant are mostly supporters of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party, the nationalist Ataka party, the Bulgaria for Citizens Movement, and the center-right ruling party GERB.
The poll was conducted in the period 14-19 December, before the statement of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in which he called on GERB supporters to vote "no" at the referendum.
Around 24% of the polled are adamantly against the construction of a new N-plant in Bulgaria.
The people who oppose the construction of a new NPP in Bulgaria are mostly supporters of the right-wing parties Democrats for Strong Bulgaria Party (DSB), the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), and center-right ruling party GERB.
11% of the polled have not made up their minds.
"The development of nuclear energy in Bulgaria has reached a standstill as a result of different political and economic interests on a global scale and nothing indicates that the problem will be solved soon. It is important to solve the problem because time works against Bulgaria's nuclear energy – the term for safe exploitation of unit 5 of the Kozloduy NPP expires in 2017 and that of unit 6 in 2021,"sociologists comment.
Following prolonged debates, the question at the first national democratic referendum in Bulgaria was set as "Should Bulgaria develop nuclear energy through the construction of a new nuclear power plant?"
According to the poll, 53% of all Bulgarians entitled to vote, or 3.26 million voters, plan to take part in the referendum.
In order to be valid, however, the referendum must attract as many voters as the latest parliamentary elections, or at least 345 450 voters.
According to sociologists, the fate of the referendum may be decided by the undecided 27% of the people.
"If the informational campaign on the benefits of the referendum yields positive results, the share of people planning to cast a ballot could increase," experts say.
56% of men and 50% of women are convinced that they must take part in the referendum.
39% of people aged under 30 also believe that they must go to the polls.
The most active are the people aged 61+, with 63% of them planning to take part in the referendum.
59% of the people with university diplomas and 70% of entrepreneurs also intend to vote on the future of nuclear energy in Bulgaria.
82% of the supporters of BSP, 2/3 of the supporters of GERB, 65% of the supporters of the Bulgaria for Citizens Movement, and 46% of the supporters of DPS also plan to vote on January 27.
On January 27, Bulgarians are to express their opinion on the development of nuclear energy in the country by answering the question "Should Bulgaria develop nuclear energy through the construction of a new nuclear plant?"
The referendum was called to decide the fate of frozen Belene NPP project.
The GERB government scrapped the Belene NPP project in March 2012, declaring it economically unfeasible.
The pro-Belene, opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, then launched a petition for a referendum on the Russian-Bulgarian project's fate.
The inspection of the petition recently concluded the 543 639 valid signatures are enough to make the vote irreversible.
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