Bulgaria faces coalition talks after close election

Bulgaria faces coalition talks after close election
Опубликовано: Tuesday, 04 April 2023 05:09

Boyko Borissov’s GERB party finishes just ahead of pro-Western coalition.

The center-right GERB party was the winner in Bulgaria’s election on Sunday night.

In the final count, GERB won 26.5 percent of the vote, with a pro-Western coalition led by Continuing the Change (PP) and Democratic Bulgaria scoring 24.9 percent.

Those results signal renewed coalition talks, much to the dismay of voters who have been to the polls five times in the last two years.

The last round of voting was seen by many as a make-or-break test for GERB, whose leader Boyko Borissov served as prime minister from 2009 to 2021, until nationwide protests erupted over his government’s role in the country’s rampant corruption.

Continuing the Change, led by Harvard graduates Kiril Petkov and Asen Vasilev, and Democratic Bulgaria, led by Hristo Ivanov, campaigned on a promise to make Bulgaria a “European country,” by raising the standard of health care and education, and making the judiciary independent.

Meanwhile, the nationalist Revival party, which is pro-Russia, anti-NATO and anti-EU, took third place with 14.4 percent, up several points from the previous election in October.

A grand coalition between GERB and PP is unlikely, despite the two being close ideologically, since it was during Petkov’s seven months in office that Borissov was arrested on suspicion of blackmail.

If the country once again fails to produce a functioning government, it could undermine its hopes of one day joining the eurozone and effectively using its EU COVID recovery aid.

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