Showman Slavi Trifonov’s vehicle edges ahead in polls before Bulgaria’s July general election

Showman Slavi Trifonov’s vehicle edges ahead in polls before Bulgaria’s July general election
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia June 17, 2021

Two polls in recent days have shown the newly formed political vehicle of popular showman Slavi Trifonov, There Are Such People (ITN), has edged ahead of former prime minister Boyko Borissov’s Gerb, which ruled Bulgaria for a decade. 

The main question ahead of the July 11 snap general election is whether the so-called protest parties – ITN,  reformist Democratic Bulgaria and Stand up! Thugs out! — will be able to gain a majority against Gerb and fellow establishment parties the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). 

Gallup International, which published its poll on July 17, said the political newcomers currently look set to gain less than 50% of the vote, but support for them is rising.

“At the beginning of the campaign the outcome starts seeming increasingly unpredictable,” Gallup noted.

“The other intrigue with symbolic meaning is who will come first, considering that at the moment There Are Such People and Gerb-UDF [the Union of Democratic Forces] are with absolutely equal positions – it is impossible to predict,” Gallup noted.

Another question is how many votes Democratic Bulgaria will gain, with support for the formation apparently strengthening.

After the April 4 general election, Gerb was in first place, followed by ITN, but none of the parties in the newly elected parliament was able to put together a majority. 

Gerb has been losing support since April when it got 26% of the votes, and has been further damaged by a raft of revelations from the interim government about corruption in state institutions as officials probe developments under the last Gerb government. 

The Gallup poll showed that ITN and Gerb would gain almost equal support in the July 11 early general election. The poll showed that ITN would gain 21.2% of the votes, while Gerb-UDF would get 21%. The BSP came in third with 15.9%, followed by Democratic Bulgaria with 12.1%, the DPS with 11.9%, Stand up! Thugs out! with 5.8% and the far-right coalition The Bulgarian Patriots with 3.5%.

The turnout is expected to be higher compared to that on April 4 – 58.2% of respondents have said they would vote for sure, while 16.4% would most likely vote.

Meanwhile, a poll released the previous day by Mediana agency gave There Are Such People took a three point lead ahead of Gerb. 

According to Mediana, There Are Such People would gain 24% of the votes, followed by Gerb-UDF with 21.4%. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is on 21.3%.

Four more parties and formations have the chance to pass the 4% threshold – the ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with 11.2%, Democratic Bulgaria with 7.2%, Stand up! Thugs out! with 6.9% and the far-right coalition Bulgarian Patriots with 5.1%.

“After the April 4 election Gerb lost a very important position – the position of power. Previously, voters (no matter whether they like or hate Gerb) had in mind that this is the strong party that rules and can continue ruling. Now the feeling that Gerb is in a weak position dominates – a party descending from power that will not rule after these elections,” Mediana commented.

The poll also showed that the majority of people want a government without Gerb after July 11 – 56% of respondents — while only 18% want the party to continue ruling.

The poll also showed that 45% of people approve the work of the caretaker government of Prime Minister Stefan Yanev, while just 18% were satisfied with the previous government, headed by Borissov, in March.

The poll also showed that President Rumen Radev remains the politician with the highest rating in the country – 56%, way ahead compared to other political leaders. He is followed by Maya Manolova, one of the leaders of Stand up! Thugs out! (30%), Trifonov (29%) and Borissov (26%).