SOFIA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's centre-right GERB party, led by former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, have a slight lead against the ruling Socialists less than three months before the European elections, an opinion poll showed on Friday. The poll by Alpha Research, which surveyed 1,020 Bulgarians between Feb. 17 and 22, showed that support for the main opposition GERB party was 16.9 percent and backing for the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was 15.1 percent. The previous GERB government fell last February amid protests over high utility bills and corruption. The European Union elections in late May will be a key test for Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's minority coalition of Socialists and the ethnic Turkish MRF party. The Socialist-led cabinet easily survived three no-confidence votes since since taking office in May amid daily anti-government demonstrations in the European Union's poorest country. Support for the MRF party was 6.9 percent and backing for former Socialist president Georgi Parvanov's Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) movement was 6.1 percent. Parvanov announced last month he would run a separate list of candidates. The newly-formed Bulgaria without Censorship party and its ally, the nationalist party VMRO, came fifth in the poll with support of 5.5 percent. PARTY Alpha Gallup Research When poll conducted Feb Feb GERB 16.9 17.7 Socialist party (BSP) 15.1 18.8 Movement for Rights and 6.9 6.7 Freedom (MRF) Alternative for Bulgarian 6.1 6.0 Revival (ABV) Bulgaria without 5.5 5.5 Censorship/VMRO Reformist Bloc 5.0 4.6 (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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