Bulgaria's GERB party leads ahead of November election, poll finds

FILE PHOTO: Borissov, former Bulgarian Prime Minister and leader of centre-right GERB party, speaks during a news conference in Sofia
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SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's centre-right GERB party leads its rivals ahead of the country's third parliamentary election this year, although anger against corruption put an end to its almost decade in power in April, a new opinion poll showed on Tuesday.

Bulgarians will vote again on Nov. 14 after inconclusive elections in April and July failed to produce a government.

Anger against high-level graft in the European Union's poorest country unseated GERB from office after the April vote, but its political opponents could not agree on a government after either of the April and July polls.

Former premier Boyko Borissov's GERB garnered 23.1% support, slightly below the 23.5% it won in July, when it came as a very close second, the opinion poll by Sofia-based Alpha Research showed.

The opposition Socialists are gaining support but still remain a distant second with 16.8% backing, up from 13.4% in the July election, showed the survey, which was conducted from Oct 4 to 10 among 1,123 people.

A new centrist party, We Are Continuing the Change, set up by two popular former interim ministers, appeared as the third most popular faction with 15.9% support, the survey showed.

Backing for the anti-establishment ITN party of TV talk show host and singer Slavi Trifonov, which won July election with 24.1%, has plunged to 10.4%, with many Bulgarians disappointed with its failure to forge a coalition government.

Two other factions are seen entering Bulgaria's next parliament, but neither party will win an outright majority.

A coalition of three to four parties will be needed for a majority government, Alpha Research said.

Bulgarians will also vote to choose a new president on Nov. 14, with incumbent Rumen Radev, a harsh critic of Borissov, seen as a front-runner at the first round for the largely ceremonial post, the survey showed.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)