Third general elections in Bulgaria in a year with uncertain outcome

Sofia (Bulgaria). EFE / EPA / VASSIL DONEV

Sofia, Nov 11 (EFE) .- Bulgaria celebrates this Sunday the third parliamentary elections of the year and, at the same time, presidential elections, under pressure to remove the Balkan country from the political blockade in which it has been since last April.
For six months, the poorest country in the European Union (EU) has been governed by a technocratic executive due to the inability of political parties to form a new executive with a majority in Parliament.
These elections come amid a new peak in the coronavirus pandemic, with hospitals on the brink of collapse, while only one in four adults are vaccinated, the lowest level in the EU.
In addition to the hundreds of deaths from covid-19 that are registered every day, there is fear of the increasing rise in prices, especially fuel and heating, at the beginning of winter.
Another uncertainty is participation, which between the April and July elections fell from 49% to 41%, making it impossible to predict how it will be in these third elections.
The first electoral replay, last July, was marked by the political clash between Boiko Borisov, right-wing populist prime minister for the last twelve years, and his main rival, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, who accuses him of abuse of power and corruption.
These allegations sparked massive demonstrations in 2020 against Borisov and his party, the GERB, and three protest parties that now have parliamentary representation were born from them.
As analyst Parvan Simeonov explained to Efe, the problems in the economy, health and infrastructure open up possibilities for GERB to criticize and blame the expert executive and thus attract disgruntled voters.
The latest polls place GERB as the most voted force, with a voting intention of around 23%, ahead of the Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP, with 15%.
Third in the polls is now the Continuamos el Cambio party, founded a few weeks ago by two ministers of the current executive of technocrats, Kiril Petkov (Economy) and Asen Vasilev (Finance), with up to 15% in voting intention.
For Simeonov, the rise of this list is due to their promise to fight corruption and the legitimacy they receive from the support of Radev, the most popular politician in the country and likely winner of the presidential elections.
“We continue the change intends to place itself in the center of the political spectrum and thus attract voters from other parties, except for the GERB, which does not lose support,” says Simeonov.
The big loser will be, according to the polls, the protest party There Is Such a People, which would drop from 23.8% with which it won in July to 13%.
His chaotic management after his electoral victory and his inability to create consensus to form a government has disappointed many voters.
The also protest party Democratic Bulgaria will be another formation that will enter the Parliament, with 9% of voting intention, while the party of the Turkish minority, the CDM, will be around 9%.
Local analysts, such as Simeonov, estimate that the “key” to future governance is in the hands of We Continue the Change, due to its constructive way of seeing politics, which could facilitate the search for parliamentary majorities.
Meanwhile, in the presidential elections, the big favorite is the current president, the pro-Russian Rumen Radev, who has a voting intention of between 43 and 51%, depending on the poll.
The head of state is supported by We Continue the Change, There is Such a People and by the socialist PSD.
His main rival is the rector of the University of Sofia, Anastas Gerdzikov, supported by Borisov’s GERB, with a voting intention of up to a maximum of 28%.
The big question of these elections is if Radev will obtain more than 50% and will win directly on Sunday, or if he will have to go to a second round with the second most voted candidate, out of the 24 who run for office.
Vladislav Punchev

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