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PM Boyko Borisov's GERB party, as well as the main opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party recorded a significant decline in support in a new opinion poll from Exacta, as the populist, anti-elite 'There Are Such People' (ITN) party establishes itself in third place.

  • Exacta (EU grouping affiliation after dash): GERB-EPP: 28.8% (-7), BSP-S&D: 25.6% (-6), ITN-*: 14.0% (new), DPS-RE: 8.4%, DB-G/EFA|EPP: 6.0% (+2), OP-ECR: 5.4% (-1), IS.B-*: 3.7% (new), RzB~EPP: 3.7% (new), (+/-) vs. Dec '18. Fieldwork: 5 - 12 Dec, Sample: 1025
  • ITN was established in February 2020 by Bulgarian TV personality and musician Slavi Trifonov as a populist, anti-elite party. Some of its listed policies include moving to a first-past-the-post electoral system, halving the number of deputies in the National Assembly, bringing in electronic and remote voting in election, greater EU integration, and protecting 'family values'.
  • The next election is due to take place on 28 March, and if polls reflect the eventual result the governing coalition formed by Borisov's centre-right GERB and the right-wing nationalist United Patriots would not be able to command a majority in the national assembly.
  • The rise of Trifonov and ITN should not necessarily be discounted as a TV personality out of their depth and unlikely to win power. Elsewhere in Europe, ITN's rise mirrors:
    • The ascent of Ukrainian TV personality Volodymyr Zelensky's Servant of the People party in 2019, when the actor was able to sweep to the Ukrainian presidency in a wave of anti-establishment feeling.
    • Further back, in 2013, Italian comedian Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five-Star Movement came second in the country's general election before going onto become the largest party in the Chamber of Deputies in the 2018 vote and becoming the senior partner in gov't.
    • The most famous example outside of Europe remains Donald Trump's election of US president in 2016.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-0981 | tom.lake@marketnews.com