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Ex EU Commissioner, Socialist MEP, GERB Candidate Ranked Top Contestants for Bulgaria's Presidential Race.

Bulgaria's Regional Development Minister Rosen Plevneliev, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov are among the most popular Cabinet members, with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov retaining his leadership position, according to a poll.

"Tsvetan Tsvetanov is important here, because he lost quite a bit of public confidence in the beginning of the year, but seems to be regaining it now. Although he has not managed to return to his previous position, confidence in him and in the work of the Interior has largely been restored", Yuli Pavlov from the Center for Analysis and Marketing said Wednesday in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).

Citing a poll conducted by the Sofia-based polling agency, he defined the current approval rate of over 30% for the government as "too good a result", given the fact that the Cabinet was in the middle of its term in office.

The sociologist went on to say that, regarding the upcoming fall elections, surveys confirmed that people were more interested in participating in the local, not the presidential vote.

Bulgaria's presidential elections, which will be held together with the local vote, have been scheduled for October 23.

Regional Development Minister Rosen Plevneliev, who currently enjoys the highest approval rating, is the most likely presidential runner of center-right ruling party GERB, and is almost certain to go to a runoff, according to Pavlov.

Approached to comment on the possibility of him being GERB's presidential candidate, Minister Plevneliev remained quite evasive, pledging that he would be the first to break the news, if the scenario came true.

The sociologist further said that the left-wing presidential candidate, Ivaylo Kalfin, could not summon the support of the entire Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)or attract votes from outside the political formation.

"The presidential elections in Bulgaria will be decided at a runoff, with the GERB nominee a certain contender in the second round", Pavlov added.

He said that there were three "A-League candidates"- GERB's nominee, former EU Commissioner Meglena Kuneva (independent) and MEP Ivaylo Kalfin (BSP).

Kuneva and Kalfin, however, were keeping a low-profile, probably misled by the casual approach of GERB and in anticipation of the announcement of the ruling party's runner.

"At the same time, GERB is far from dormant - it is running a campaign, not a presidential one, but one involving giving publicity to the government's success story, which does have an impact on voters", Pavlov explained.

The director of the polling agency concluded that no surprising shifts in public opinion had taken place in July.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:Aug 3, 2011
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