SOFIA, July 8 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's new anti-establishment
party There Is Such a People (ITN) remains closely tied in
popularity with the centre-right GERB, which has been in power
for most of the past decade, ahead of a July 11 snap election,
two opinion polls showed on Thursday.
Anger at graft-prone political elites, which many blame for
ensuring Bulgaria remains the European Union's poorest and most
corrupt member state, has boosted support for ITN, founded by TV
talk-show host Slavi Trifonov.
Thursday's polls by Sofia-based Alpha Research and Gallup
International showed support for ITN has risen to 21.3-21.8%
from the 17.7% it won in an April general election, when it was
the second largest party.
The centre-right GERB, led by long-serving former prime
minister Boyko Borissov has mobilised its supporters in the
run-up to the Sunday vote and was 0.3%-1.0% behind ITN,
according to the two surveys, but was still below the 26.2% it
won in April.
GERB emerged as the largest party after the election three
months ago, but failed to form a government as other parties
have shunned it amid popular anger at entrenched corruption.
Sunday's snap poll is being held to break the deadlock,
after ITN also failed to secure a parliamentary majority.
The opinion polls suggest that support for ITN, and its
potential partners, the anti-graft Democratic Bulgaria and Stand
Up! Mafia Out! will not be enough for the three to muster a
Democratic Bulgaria is projected to get 12%-12.2% of the
vote, while Stand Up! Mafia Out! is on course for 5.4%-6.1%.
"Despite their improved positions, the protest parties do
not gain 120 seats" (needed for a majority), Alpha Research
said in a statement. "That is why the coalition formula is
likely to be the cornerstone in the next parliament as it was
after the April vote."
Bulgaria has almost doubled the number of voting stations
abroad for the Sunday poll - which may boost the results for ITN
and Democratic Bulgaria, the main recipients of votes from
expatriates in the previous election, analysts say.
Two more parties have a chance to enter the next parliament.
The Socialists remained the third-most popular party with
15.9-16.4%, while support for the ethnic-Turkish MRF party stood
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by William Maclean)