Bulgarian Ruling-Party Presidential Candidate Tops Election Poll

Rosen Plevneliev, the presidential candidate of Bulgaria’s ruling party, is leading the race for Oct. 23 elections that will test support for Prime Minister’s Boiko Borissov’s government, an opinion poll showed.

Plevneliev, 47, a computer engineer, businessman and former minister in Borissov’s Cabinet, has the support of 33 percent of Bulgarians and would win 41 percent of the vote, according to a poll published today by Sofia-based MBMD agency. If no candidate wins at least half the ballots, the top two vote-getters will face each other in an Oct. 30 runoff.

Ivailo Kalfin, 47, a member of the European Parliament and a former foreign minister, was second with 20 percent, according to MBMD. Meglena Kuneva, 54, a former European Union commissioner, was third with 13 percent. Incumbent Georgi Parvanov, elected to a second five-year term in 2007, is prevented by the constitution from seeking a third term.

The election will test the popularity of Borissov’s Gerb party as the EU’s poorest member struggles to recover from its deepest recession in a decade before 2013 parliamentary elections. It comes as concern about vote-buying was expressed on Oct. 17 by the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is set to monitor the election featuring 18 candidates.

Vote prices range between $20 and $100 across the country, Dnevnik newspaper reported today, citing the Bulgarian branch of Transparency International.

The Oct. 16-17 survey of 1,050 people had a margin of error of 2 percent, MBMD said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Konstantinova in Sofia at ekonstantino@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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