Bulgarians divided on Socialist-led government

SOFIA Tue Oct 1, 2013 6:22am EDT

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Sofia July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Sofia July 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarians are divided on the performance of their four-month-old Socialist coalition government, which faces frequent protests and holds a shaky majority in parliament, a new poll by Gallup International showed on Tuesday.

Thousands of Bulgarians have taken to the streets to demand that the government resign over endemic corruption, although the rallies have eased recently.

Forty-five percent of those polled by Gallup said they supported the protests, while 44 percent said they did not. Asked if they thought the government should resign, 40 percent said it should, and 41 percent said it should not. The others were undecided.

"The fate of the government is still a question which divides Bulgarians into two camps," Gallup said in a statement.

Political analysts say the protests are backed mainly by young, well-educated and relatively well-paid Bulgarians, whose views diverge from those in the European Union's poorest country who are poorly paid or unemployed, with few opportunities.

Support for the Socialists rose marginally in September to 22.4 percent from 21.7 percent in August, according to the poll, carried out among 1,013 people between Sept 12 and 19.

Backing for the opposition GERB party, which resigned from power in February, also rose, to 19.1 percent from 17.5 percent, it said.

Last week, the centeright GERB blocked the work of the parliament to demonstrate that the Socialists do not command the majority needed to open sessions, underlining a deepening political crisis that has deterred much needed investment.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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