Bulgarian PM Loses Ground over Spy Scandal - Poll

Society | January 19, 2011, Wednesday // 16:50|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (l) and the Head of the Custom's Agency, Vanyo Tanov (r). Photo by BGNES

Support for the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, is down 14% after the so-called "tape scandal," according to the latest poll of the "Gallup" Agency.

The poll was released Wednesday. It has been done on January 17 and 18 among 1 058 Bulgarians, living in the country's largest cities.

Over half of those polled say the cabinet is in crisis and 40% blame Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, for the large-scale spying on businesses and on citizens.

Nearly 29% say the GERB rule is good while 38% see it as bad. One year ago, 39% approved of the GERB cabinet while only 18% saw negative results.

31% believe the government will be able to deal successfully with the crisis; 44% predict it would fail.

54% say the actions of the cabinet are chaotic and unpredictable; 33% see Tsvetanov as lacking integrity for his post; 42% are convinced high-ranking GERB officials are engaged in the pursuit of personal goals and in corruption practices – up 5% compared to last year; 53% are convinced the police abuse the special surveillance devices.

75% share they know about the scandal with the taped conversation between key Bulgarian figures, while 50% have discussed it with family members.

32% believe the PM is involved in and responsible for the scandal; 34% are of the opposite opinion. 42% still support him despite the scandal while 23% say they did not support him before and now.

Gallup experts say the results show the society is divided and confused.

The scandal was triggered last week by the release of tapes of conversations between the Prime Minister and the Director of the Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov.

The tapes were published Friday by the Galeria weekly, a paper believed to be the mouthpiece of the former special agent of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, (currently under house arrest), has been investigated on organized crime charges since his detention in the much advertised "Operation Octopus" in February 2010.

The recordings, which authenticity is yet to be proven, allege Borisov provided a cover-up for the owner of the "Ledenika" beer company, Mihail Mihov.

The tapes reveal that Borisov had called Tanov with an order to immediately pull the tax agents out of the factory and that the "Ledenika" boss personally complained to the PM.

In another tape, Tanov can be heart telling his Deputy, Antoniy Strandzhev, to keep the documents secure while he is away.

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