21st Mar 2018

Borisov wins Bulgarian elections

  • Boyko Borisov could become prime minister for the third time. (Photo: European People's Party)

Bulgaria's centre-right leader, Boyko Borisov, could become prime minister for the third time after his party came first in elections on Sunday (26 March) but without a clear majority.

Borisov's Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party won 32.63 percent of votes, according to partial results with 94 percent counted.

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  • The BSP was toppled by anti-corruption demonstrations in 2013. It had hoped to come back to power. (Photo: Bmw Spirit)

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) came second with 27.10 percent, ahead of the nationalist United Patriots that had 9.12 percent. The party of the Turkish minority, the MDL, had 8.94 percent, and a new party, Volia, launched by businessman Veselin Mareshki had 4.16 percent of the vote.

All other parties got less than the 4 percent that is necessary to have a seat in the 240-seat parliament, including the Reformist Bloc and DOST, a pro-Turkey party supported by Ankara.

"I hope we can ensure the rapid formation of a government that responds to the wishes of the people and to the grave international situation," Borisov said on Sunday.

Borisov, who was prime minister from 2009 to 2013 and 2014 to last year, resigned in November after GERB's candidate lost the presidential election.

He will need to find allies to form his third government. With the Reformist Bloc out of parliament, Borisov could try to govern with United Patriots and Volia.

The BSP, which hoped to come back to power after being toppled by anti-corruption demonstrations in 2013, congratulated Borisov. But its leader, Korneliya Ninova, said the party would try to form a government if Borisov failed.

Both leaders insisted on the need for political stability, with Bulgaria set to take the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2018.

Bulgaria's election test

Sunday's general elections will be a test for the country's relations with the EU, Russia, and Turkey, as well as for the political future of former leader Borisov.

New Bulgarian president has bulging in-tray

The apparent pro-Russia leanings of Bulgaria's next leader, Rumen Radev, have dominated headlines. But his first major challenges will be to install a government and attempt to promote anti-corruption reforms.

Bulgaria's president vetoes anti-corruption bill

Bulgaria is starting its six-month EU presidency amid attempts to shake off issues of corruption and poor press freedoms. Earlier this week, Bulgaria's president vetoed an anti-graft bill, claiming it was too weak.

EU: 'Keep Calm', as Italy struggles to form government

Both the leaders of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League party claim the position of Italian prime minister, amid renewed eurosceptics remarks while Europe is waiting for a stable government.


The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.

Far-right parties re-register to access EU funds

After missing a funding deadline, the far-right nationalist Alliance for Peace and Freedom and the Alliance of European National Movements are back in the game and possibly eligible for EU money in 2019.

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