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Bulgaria faces snap polls as Socialists abandon plans to form government

Bulgaria faces snap polls as Socialists abandon plans to form government
Bulgaria faces snap polls as Socialists abandon plans to form government Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
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SOFIA - Bulgaria is facing new general election in the spring, the country's fifth in two years, after the Socialists on Friday gave up on plans to form a working government.

The Socialists, who had the third and final chance to form a cabinet following an inconclusive election on Oct. 2, said they had made a serious effort to garner support, setting up clear national priorities, but not succeeded.

"We looked for a solution to take the country out of the many crises and mainly out of the political crisis," Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova told reporters. "We looked at the options and decided to return the mandate to the president," she said.

"We are now going to elections," she said.

The two largest political parties, the centre-right GERB and the anti-graft PP, have already failed to find support to form a working coalition government in a deadlocked parliament.

Lack of a regular government will weigh on Bulgaria's plans to join the euro zone in 2024. It will delay much needed reforms to combat high-level graft and is likely to hamper the efficient tapping of billions of euros in EU recovery funds.

Bulgaria has suffered political instability since massive anti-graft protests in 2020. The Balkan country has been governed by caretaker technocratic governments for much of the past two years in the absence of a stable elected coalition.

On Friday, Ninova invited the leaders of the six other political parties to unite on four national priorities, including efficient tapping of European Union aid, but only the leaders of GERB, the ethnic Turkish MRF party and nationalist Bulgarian Rise showed up.

President Rumen Radev will now have to have to decide when to dissolve the parliament and set a date for new polls within two months.

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