Bulgarian Socialists ahead of opposition despite protests: poll

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 20, 2013 9:07 AM
Bulgarian Socialists ahead of opposition despite protests: poll

SOFIA (Reuters) - The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has maintained its lead against the main opposition GERB party despite anti-government protests, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday.

Thousands of demonstrators have been protesting against endemic corruption in the Balkan country for nine weeks in the capital Sofia, demanding the resignation of the Socialist-led government.

However, many political analysts say that the protesters, who are mostly young, well-educated and Sofia-based, do not represent the views of the majority of Bulgarians.

Support for the BSP rose fractionally in August to 21.7 percent from 21.6 percent in July, the Gallup International poll showed.

Backing for center-right GERB, which resigned from power in February, fell to 17.5 percent from 17.8 percent.

The cabinet, led by non-partisan Plamen Oresharski, is composed of Socialists and the ethnic Turkish MRF party and has been in power for two-and-a-half months. It controls barely half of the seats in parliament and relies on the support of Attack, a nationalist party, to stay in office.

GERB, led by former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, has criticized the government for its plans for additional spending and said early elections should be held by the end of the year.

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Gallup said that 40 percent of respondents believe the government should resign while 38 percent support the cabinet. The poll of 1,013 people was conducted between August 1 and 8.

Bulgaria's previous, center-right, government fell in February after street protests against low living standards and high utility bills.

Support for the MRF party, the Socialists' junior coalition partner, fell to 6.0 percent in August from 6.7 percent the previous month.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Pravin Char)