Bulgaria’s Gerb Leads in Opinion Survey Before May 12 Elections

Bulgaria’s former ruling Gerb party of Boyko Borissov leads in opinion polls ahead of May 12 elections, even though it falls short of outright majority needed to form a government.

Gerb will get 28.3 percent of the votes according to an April 27-28 survey of 555 people by MBMD polling agency. The Bulgarian Socialist Party led by Sergei Stanishev trails with 18.7 percent, according to the survey, which didn’t indicate an error margin. The nationalist Attack party and the ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms each get the backing of 5.2 percent, according to MBMD.

Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest member in terms of per-capita output, faces early elections after Borissov’s government resigned on Feb. 20 amid rallies against poverty and high utility bills that turned violent.

“Gerb is the favorite to win the elections, but it will fall short of an overall majority,” Otilia Simkova, an analyst in Eurasia Group in London, said in an e-mailed note today. “Renewed public protests could make coalition formation more difficult because the key concerns of protesters have not yet been sufficiently addressed and the public views coalitions with suspicion.”

An April 4-9 survey of 998 people by the polling company Gallup BBSS showed 22.8 percent support for Gerb and 19.9 percent for the Socialists. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percent.

The nationalist Attack party ranked third with 5.7 percent and the ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms trailed with 4.9 percent support, Gallup said on its website.

Anti-austerity protests have toppled prime ministers across Europe and forced out Borissov, whose administration focused on budget cuts to ward off bailouts and turbulent bond markets, boosting unemployment to the highest in eight years.

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