Thursday

25th May 2017

Bulgarian PM threatens to quit

  • Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borissov. (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Bulgaria’s prime minister Boyko Borissov raised the stakes in the country’s presidential elections, saying on Sunday (6 November) he will pull his party from government if his candidate Tsetska Tsacheva is not elected.

"We have a real chance to win in the run-off next Sunday. But if we lose, the government will resign on Monday morning," Borissov said after initial exit polls suggested Tsacheva was likely to come second.

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With two-thirds of the ballots counted, Tsacheva, a 58-year old lawyer and a member of Borissov’s centre-right Gerb party, had secured 22 percent of the vote in the first round of elections on Sunday.

She was trailing behind socialist-backed contender Rumen Radev, a former jet pilot and air force commander, who had 25.7 percent.

Final results are expected later on Monday with a run-off scheduled for 13 November.

The president’s role is largely ceremonial. But he or she can dismiss or appoint top officials and appoint governments in times of crisis.

Early elections could plunge the country into turmoil, as Borissov is credited with bringing some order into the poor and corruption-pestered country.

Voters were also taking part in a referendum on Sunday about electoral reform.

Exit polls indicated a huge majority had backed plans to introduce first-past-the-post voting (where each constituency elects a single MP), limit state subsidies and make voting mandatory.

Referendum turnout needs to be above 50 percent for the vote to be valid.

EU funds for Bulgaria target border security

Reception and detention facilities in Bulgaria are in poor shape but most of the €108-million emergency aid package announced by the EU commission will go to border security and surveillance.

MEPs vote to start democracy probe on Hungary

The European Parliament took the first step towards launching the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for backsliding on democracy. The process might lead to sanctions, but Orban is not backing down.

MEPs preparing to crack down on Orban

The EU assembly's largest group is split by its "enfant terrible", but enough MEPs are likely to abstain or vote Yes on the "Article 7" crackdown over Orban's illiberal rule.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

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