Boyko Borisov, the conservative leader who has led Bulgaria for much of the past 12 years, appears to have been handed over to the opposition on Sunday after tightly fought parliamentary elections left him without allies to form a government.
Borisov’s Gerb party was first in the poll with 23.5 percent, according to Alpha Research polls. Gallup also put the center-right party in first place with 22.1 percent.
The anti-establishment party There is Such a People (ITN), led by TV singer and host Slavi Trifonov, came in a close second with about 22 percent of the vote, according to estimates.
Democratic Bulgaria, another so-called protest party, is expected to win 14.1 percent, on par with the Socialists at 14.1 percent. The anti-graft ‘Stand up! Mafia Out! the party, the smallest member of the protest trio, was on track to win 4 per cent, the minimum to enter parliament.
Analysts said that once the votes were counted abroad, ITN could emerge as the largest party. Yet Bulgaria, the poorest member state of the EU, is probably heading towards an unstable government, if not a political paralysis. Parliament will be divided between established parties, including Borisov’s Gerb and his socialist opponents, and three anti-establishment protest parties, including ITN.
Borisov is highly unlikely to be able to form a government because other parties have voted not to work for Gerb. But the protest parties lack the votes to govern on their own and are reluctant to ally with both the socialists and the Turkish MRP minority, who believe they have perpetuated a corrupt political system.
“We are nowhere, politically, because the so-called protest parties have not had enough votes to form an autonomous government even together,” said Hristo Ivanov, a leader of the liberal Yes Bulgaria, which is part of the alliance. Democratic Bulgaria. FT after the publication of the polls.
“The result translates into 110-115 deputies but I don’t expect anything beyond that,” Ivanov said. “And, for a majority, you need at least 122. It’s a very difficult situation in which you can’t just call a new election. “
Trifonov, a famous folk-rock singer, was silenced during the campaign on his plans, confusing his potential coalition partners. Bulgarians know little about what their ITN party or their new representatives in parliament mean. Ivanov described his potential coalition partner as a “black box.”
Borisov oversaw some economic developments, including infrastructure upgrades, but was unable to dispel persistent allegations of grafting, which boiled over last year in protests lasting several months.
According to many analysts and opposition politicians, the protests have eroded Gerb’s support and made it “untouchable” for political partners.
“Young people continue to travel abroad. Corruption suffocates every business initiative. Something is about to change, ”engineer Nikolay Galabov, 38, told Reuters after voting in Sofia.
In an interview last week, the former prime minister rejected the claims of the grafts as unfounded and said the opposition was pushing the agenda of a left-wing “mafia”.
Sunday’s vote was a repeat of the inconclusive elections of early April, which failed to produce a government. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, a staunch opponent of Borisov, has appointed an interim administration. Despite the lack of a democratic mandate, it has put in place public administration policing, review of procurement procedures and dismissal of officials deemed corrupt.
“Once the people saw Borisov out of power, they did not see a suitable proposal for a new government on the political market,” Ivanov said, pointing to the low turnout.