Monday

26th Feb 2024

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.

Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns

Germany is expanding agreements to return rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin as part of a wider shift in Europe to curtail migration. Berlin has reached deals with Georgia and Morocco since December.

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