BULGARIA: Bulgaria’s sixth parliamentary election failed to yield a clear winner, leading to protracted and challenging coalition talks. According to early results, a pro-Western reformist alliance led by We Continue the Change received 24.9% of the vote, while a bloc led by the centre-right GERB party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov received 26.5%.
The nationalist Revival party, which supports Russian President Vladimir Putin in the conflict in Ukraine, came in third with 14.4% of the vote. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was in fourth place with 9%, followed by the ethnic Turkish MRF with 13%. Bulgaria’s goal date for adopting the euro has been pushed back, and a budget bill has not yet been passed because of a political standoff between the two major blocs.
Analysts and voters are worried that the complicated results of Sunday’s election could mean that we’ll have to vote again later this year. Due to the uncertainty, it has also been hard for Bulgaria to get help from the EU to recover from the pandemic.
The GERB is accused by the PP and its allies, Democratic Bulgaria (DB), of presiding over widespread corruption in the EU’s poorest member state during their ten-year tenure. Borissov is seen as a potential solution to rising inflation and geopolitical worries, but PP/DB has disqualified a partnership with him. Both Borissov and the 42-year-old, Harvard-educated head of the PP, Kiril Petkov, favour keeping Bulgaria’s pro-Ukraine posture in the conflict, although Bulgaria is a NATO member with strong historical and cultural ties to Russia.
For the past two years, President Rumen Radev has chosen technocratic caretaker governments. The official election results will be announced on April 6. Radev plans to invite the leader of the party that got the most votes to start talks about forming a coalition.
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