Bulgarian socialists, conservatives in tight vote race

The leftwing BSP, heir of the former communist party, has slightly edged ahead in the race with 30.2 percent while the GERB party of ex-premier Boyko Borisov polls 28.3 percent, according to the Gallup survey of 1003 voters.

Bulgarian socialists, conservatives in tight vote race

World Bulletin / News Desk

Bulgaria's Socialists are running neck-and-neck with the ruling conservative party ahead of this month's snap election, a new poll showed Thursday, making the formation of a stable government appear extremely difficult.

A coalition of nationalist and far-right parties known as the United Patriots are in third place ahead of the March 26 general election, with just under 12 percent.

The bloc is likely to play kingmaker as neither of the two largest parties is expected to reach the majority needed to govern alone.

It remains unclear which side the United Patriots would support.

But whoever emerges victorious, observers predict that the winner will have a hard time forming a stable government in the European Union's poorest member.

"What counts isn't the result on March 26, but the ability to find partners for a government," Borisov told Bulgarian broadcaster bTV on Thursday.

Bulgaria entered renewed turmoil after the Socialist-backed ex-airforce chief and political novice Rumen Radev won the presidential vote resoundingly in November over GERB's candidate.

Radev's election prompted Borisov and his government to resign the same month following two years in power, triggering Bulgaria's third general election since 2013.

Analysts caution that a return to power of the BSP might pull Bulgaria closer into Russia's orbit and test Sofia's allegiance to the EU and NATO.

Both Radev and BSP leader Kornelia Ninova have already spoken in favour of scrapping EU sanctions against Russia, imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.

Meanwhile the rightwing Reformist Bloc, GERB's key coalition partners, look uncertain to even enter parliament this time, currently polling just above the required four-percent threshold.

And GERB's other backer, the Patriotic Front, has joined the United Front and have not revealed who they will support.

Finally the MDL Turkish minority party and the new populist Volia outfit also appear set to gain enough votes to enter parliament, reaping respectively 8.2 percent and 7.4 percent of votes in the Gallup poll.

Volia -- meaning "will" in Bulgarian -- was launched last November by pharmacy chain owner Veselin Mareshki who has promised to bring down fuel prices, currently among the EU's highest.

Other key election issues include Bulgaria's rampant corruption and poverty, with the average monthly salary just 480 euros ($535).

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Mart 2017, 15:29
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