Bulgaria’s veteran politician, Boiko Borisov and his pro-Europe centre-right party have claimed victory in the country’s snap election.
With most votes counted the European Development of Bulgaria or GERB party won about 33% of the vote, but that’s well short of an outright majority in the 240-seat parliament.
Claiming to be the night’s winners, GERB leader Boiko Borisov set out the challenges ahead:
“As a country, we have the rare opportunity to assume the presidency of the EU in January. We must build a stable government in the months to come, and a stable opposition as well, with a sense of responsibility. The situation is very complicated but we must do our best to unite the nation.”
So begins the search for a coalition partner. Reporting from Sofia for euronews, Damian Vodenticharov:
“Borissov’s call for national unity comes ahead of tough talks with potential partners in the new parliament, which could take weeks, or even months. And a looming deadline is the choice of a new European commissioner from Bulgaria.”
But the pro-Russia Socialists and their leader Kornelia Ninova who came second with around 28% have already rejected any possibility of working with Borisov.
“If GERB invites us to a coalition, we will not join. There are principles in politics, we always stated during the campaign that our programs are completely opposed and as the alternative to GERB our goal is to change the status quo.”
#Bulgaria's center-right #GERB party narrowly won parliamentary elections on March 26,
Reuters</a>. <a href="https://t.co/TUzfphrtNY">https://t.co/TUzfphrtNY</a> <a href="https://t.co/jK0RhpJunm">pic.twitter.com/jK0RhpJunm</a></p>— Stratfor (Stratfor) March 27, 2017
Preliminary results show 5 parties have passed the electoral threshold and GERB will have to form as coalition with one of two of them. Analysts forecast possible talks with either the United Patriots nationalist alliance or an ethnic Turkish party. (MRF)
Bulgaria which is the European Union’s poorest country, where the average monthly salary is just €500 and corruption is rife. It has been unstable for years, this being the third parliamentary election in four years.