Sunday

26th Feb 2017

Bulgarian elections result in uncertainty

  • Sunday's elections were called after mass protests against the centre-right government (Photo: Yordan Simeonov, 24 Chasa)

Former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s centre-right GERB party narrowly won Sunday’s (12 May) snap general elections in Bulgaria, but political turmoil in the country is set to continue, as the tight result will make the formation of a coalition government difficult.

According to preliminary results of the Central Electoral Commission (with 70% of the votes counted), Borisov’s GERB party got around 31.4 percent of the votes, just ahead of its rival Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 27.3 percent. Turn-out was low at 53.5 percent.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Only two other parties passed the 4-percent threshold to enter parliament: the liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) at 9.1 percent and the nationalist Ataka at 7.6 percent.

The results are unlikely to bring in a stable government, as neither GERB nor BSP has enough seats to form a government on its own, while both exclude governing together.

The leaders of the two other parties that made the parliament threshold last night ruled out participating in a coalition with GERB as well, accusing them of corruption and fraud.

This means that Borisov is unlikely to be part of Bulgaria’s next government at all and will probably be in opposition.

Speaking at a press conference late Sunday night, Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev called on the former prime minister to decline a mandate to form a government and pass it on to BSP.

“We will take on the responsibility of forming a new government”, he said, adding that he would enter talks with the leaders of the two other parties.

If BSP is mandated with forming a government, they have proposed as prime minister Plamen Oresharski, a finance expert and former finance minister whom the BSP has dubbed “the Bulgarian Mario Monti,” as “he means stability, economic growth, high incomes, a normal business environment.”

For his part, GERB’s leader Borisov did not give a press conference on Sunday saying he would wait for the final official results.

More instability ahead?

The 12 May early elections were called after Borisov stepped down in February following weeks of mass protests and continuous social unrest in the country against poverty, corruption and “the political system." Bulgaria is the EU poorest member state and unemployment is at 12 percent.

Bulgaria has since then been governed by the caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Marin Raykov, whose main task was to secure the smooth organisation of the early elections.

But the campaign was mired by scandals and fraud claims while the election day itself was marked by several signals of irregularities, vote buying and controlled voting.

Meanwhile, a proper political debate on economic and social issues and policies was virtually non-existent during the entire campaign - despite the fact that Bulgarian citizens took to the streets en masse in February to call for change.

In a preliminary report published on 2 May, international election observers noted that “the use of nationalistic, at times inflammatory language, allegations of vote-buying, as well as allegations of wire-tapping conducted by the Ministry of Interior involving public figures, have characterized the campaign discourse.”

The author is writing under a pen-name. Their real identity is known to EUobserver.

Feature

Bulgaria's winter of discontent

Huge protests in Bulgaria in the past 17 days stem from a deep political crisis that goes well beyond economic discontent and creates uncertainty for the future of the country.

Analysis

Bulgarians: Citizens with a cause

It has been more than 40 days now since protests started in Bulgaria's capital. But a lack of cohesiveness among protestors is allowing the government to all but ignore them.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations