Even though the outcome of the upcoming March 26 elections is very difficult to predict because of the very narrow margins between the parties and coalitions that run for parliament, it is clear that GERB still has an advantage. Even if the party of former PM Boyko Borissov loses the elections to BSP, GERB will have a wider range of coalition partners to choose from in the new parliament. But its majority would be much more unstable in comparison with his ruling coalition in 2014-2015.
The two most respectable polling agencies predict very similar small leads – Alpha Research for GERB and Gallup International for BSP. It is noteworthy that Gallup International has a history of giving higher percentages for the Socialist party. They also project five parties will enter parliament, while two would be very close to the 4% threshold. The party that is very close to entering parliament, the Reformist Bloc, was part of the last government coalition and will most probably side again with GERB.
The forecasts are complicated, because the polling agencies survey only inside Bulgaria, while voters abroad determine 7 or 8 of seats in parliament. Half of this expat vote goes to the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), which represents mainly Bulgarian ethnic Turks. Around 25% goes to GERB, while the other parties get very small additional boost from Bulgarians voting abroad. This year the situation is even more complicated because the Turkish authorities are openly agitating against DPS and in favour of the party’s recent spin-off, DOST. At the same time the newly formed Yes, Bulgaria party expects to receive many votes from the Bulgarians living abroad, which boosts its chances to enter parliament. Yes, Bulgaria, its twin New Republic and the left-wing formation ABV-Movement 21 will probably benefit to a certain extent from the ugly rhetoric between GERB and BSP which might repulse some of their voters.
The elections may produce a interesting result if BSP succeeds in forming a government after all. According to Alpha Research’s survey, 36.6% of voters would prefer a government formed by right-wing parties, while 27.3% would prefer a Socialist-led government. This will create inherent instability for a government formed by BSP, as was the case in 2013-2014.
At the same time, if GERB succeeds in forming a new cabinet, this would be the first time in the modern Bulgarian history when one party is able to аppoint successfully two consecutive governments after elections. The precedent might be hailed as an end of the Bulgarian voter habit of throwing out the ruling political parties. But at the same time a new government led by GERB will not give a chance to another party to experience the wrath of the voters. This will mean that Boyko Borissov’s party will be burdened with expectation from day one and will probably exhaust itself much faster.
Alpha Research conducted its survey between 16th and 23rd of February. It was published at the agency website and was financed by Alpha Research. The sample consisted of 1024 adults from all over Bulgaria. The poll used a stratified two-stage sample with quota for the main socio-demographic characteristics. The information is collected by direct interviews at the homes of the respondents. Alpha Research is responsible for the data and interpretation, published on its website, but not for selective or manipulative use of such data.
Gallup International conducted its survey between 27th of February and 5th of March. The sample consisted of 1003 people. The information was collected by direct interviews with the respondents. The poll is independent from external financing.
Gallup International Association or its members are not related to Gallup Inc., headquartered in Washington D.C, which is no longer a member of Gallup International Association. Gallup International Association does not accept responsibility for opinion polling other than its own. We require that our surveys be credited fully as Gallup International (not Gallup or Gallup Poll)