Bulgaria's centre-right keeps narrow lead over Socialists - poll

 Reuters International

Presidential candidate for GERB party Tsetska Tsacheva and Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov react to the result of the exit polls during a presidential election in Sofia, Bulgaria, November 13, 2016. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov


SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's centre-right GERB party retains a slim lead over its main political rival, the Socialists, a month before an early parliamentary election, a survey by independent pollster Alpha Research showed on Monday.

The Black Sea state faces early polls on March 26. It has been in political limbo since centre-right Prime Minister Boiko Borisov resigned following the victory of Rumen Radev, a Russia-friendly candidate backed by the opposition Socialists, in the presidential election on Nov. 13.

Support for GERB was 31.5 percent in February, down from 32.6 percent in January, while backing for the Socialists edged up to 29.6 percent from 28.8 percent, according to the poll of 1,024 people carried out between Feb. 16 and 23.

GERB comfortably won the last parliamentary election in 2014 on promises of reform to spur economic growth and lure investment, collecting 32.7 percent of the vote against 15.4 percent for the Socialists.

Five parties are likely to form the next parliament, including the nationalist formation United Patriots (10.8 percent), the ethnic-Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (6.8 percent) and the anti-establishment Will party, led by local businessman Veselin Mareshki (5.7 percent).

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)


 Reuters International