Bulgaria’s opposition conservatives look set to throw the ruling socialists out of power according to exit polls at the general election. The former bodyguard and current Mayor of Sofia, Boiko Borisov, promised to clean up corruption and put the economy right. Bulgaria has been described as the most corrupt and the poorest country in the EU.
The exit polls show it is increasingly likely that the socialist Sergei Stanishev has lost his job as Prime Minister. He might have taken the country into the European Union, but under his rule Brussels blocked more than half a billion euros in aid because of rampant fraud. First indications give Borisov’s GERB party around 40 per cent of the vote – that translates into about 115 seats – still not enough for an outright majority in the 240-strong chamber. The socialists are given less than half that. Borisov appears to have captured the imagination of Bulgarian voters, who have become disillusioned by a government that appears to have done little to bring an end to the country’s climate of impunity for politicians and leaders of organised crime. A new administration will have to act quickly to avoid more EU restrictions on financial aid.