Gallup Poll: Subject of Corruption Marks Beginning of Bulgaria’s Political Autumn

As the political autumn kicks off in Bulgaria, corruption turns out to be in the main focus of the domestic political debate and the legislative process, according to a nationwide poll conducted by Gallup International.

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The question about who should control the future single anti-corruption agency has emerged as a central issue, Gallup said. More than two-thirds of Bulgarian voters (70 per cent) assume that the President should play the leading role in that matter. Some 21 per cent support a proposal that control should be left in the hands of the incumbents.

The onset of the political season is also marked by stronger accusations of corruption exchanged between incumbents and opposition, the poll shows. The two main media scandals, Soudjouk-gate and Tsankov Kamuk, have caught the attention of the vast majority of voters: 70 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively. Over 2 million Bulgarians are also aware of other instances of “partisan racketeering” in which political parties benefit from donations which are said to be voluntary.

By now, there is one predominant explanation about the bankruptcy of Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) which the public is inclined to believe in, Gallup further said. According to 70 per cent of adult Bulgarians, Corpbank was deliberately driven to bankruptcy so it could be plundered. One respondent in six believes that the bank’s former majority owner Tsvetan Vassilev should take all the blame. Six per cent of interviewees say that both of the above statements are true. Such public perceptions do not make for a quick disappearance of the case from the public eye and from the political struggles, the pollsters noted.

Bulgarians tend to perceive the political elite as corrupt. The two largest parties, GERB and the BSP, have surprisingly identical public images as far as corruption is concerned. One respondent in two finds that GERB are corrupt, and the same proportion of people think that the BSP are corrupt. Identical shares of 37 per cent say the opposite about both parties. But when asked about which of the two parties is more corrupt, 37 per cent name GERB and 26 per cent name the BSP; another 17 per cent see no difference.

The nationwide poll was conducted by telephone among 802 respondents between September 3 and 4. PK/VE

6 September 2017

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