Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Pyotr Borisov will find it difficult to retain power, as votes in Sunday’s election increased for anti-establishment and anti-corruption parties seeking to oust him.
Exit polls suggest Borissov’s center-right GERB will be the largest party in parliament, receiving about 25 percent of the vote, compared to the 33.5 percent he won four years ago.
Behind it, a new anti-establishment party founded by a TV presenter and singer came in second with 17-17.5 percent, and two opposition groups rejecting Boriso were predicted to enter parliament, taking on the opposition Socialists.
In a statement from the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, Bernard Smith of Al Jazeera said that if the exit polls went ahead, it would lead to an “unprecedented situation” with the need for a coalition government.
“Bulgarian politicians are trying to work, and it’s time to see if they can form a government,” he said.
After 10 years of dominance in Bulgarian politics, Borisov has some natural coalition partners in a fragmented legislature, with most groups rejecting direct cooperation with the GERB.
Weeks of negotiations or even another election cannot be ruled out as Bulgaria may struggle to tap the EU’s 50 750 billion ($ 884 billion) recovery fund aimed at helping rebuild economies across the alliance in the wake of the corona virus outbreak.
Speaking before the official results came out, Borisov called on opposition leaders to consider a broad, professional government that would win the GERB vote and focus on bringing EU money to the country plagued by the corona virus.
Borisov said such a government could have a limited lifespan until December.
“I give you peace. I come forward to present the experts and accept the responsibility, ”he said in a video streamed on Facebook. “This is my proposal to everyone, enjoy the results for two, three days and then consider – what is standard and what is not.”
Borisov, a 61-year-old former firefighter and bodyguard, sought to highlight his success in modernizing Bulgaria’s infrastructure in a less important campaign.
“We see plans for a new Bulgaria where Borisov can win elections with his vast administrative and financial resources, but will not be able to retain power,” said Haristo Ivanov, leader of the anti-corruption Democratic Bulgarian Party.
Complicating Borisov’s coalition-making options is the emergence of institutional antagonism. Famous TV presenter and singer Slavi Tryfono has such a popular party.
A Caleb International poll put Tryfono’s party in second place with 17.1 percent, followed by Alpha Research in third place with 15.2 percent and opposition Socialists in second place with 17.6 percent.
Seems # Bulgaria Prime Minister Borisov’s GERB suffered heavy losses in the national elections, but was able to retain the lead as the Socialists failed to garner support. Pro-EU opposition parties are becoming stronger hv, which will help solve the problem of northern Macedonia.https://t.co/NKgip78EFF
– yanis ka outs tsomitis (ann yanikouts) April 4, 2021
Tryphonov, 54, has attracted thousands to concerts with patriotic songs that refuse to rule with the GERB or the Socialists.
Democratic Bulgaria, one of the largest powers in the biggest struggles last summer, won 10-11 percent, as well as the Movement for Rights and Liberation Party, a traditional Kingmaker country largely supported by the Turkish minority.
Opposition party stand up! Mafia out! And the nationalist VMRO party, GERB’s coalition partner, exceeding the 4 percent limit required to enter parliament.
Polling figures were seriously scrutinized for any indications that fears of a corona virus infection might have alienated some voters, especially among older voters of the opposition Socialists. More than 6.7 million Bulgarians are eligible to vote.
Bulgaria is the most corrupt member of the European Union, according to Transparency International. The latest US report on human rights also highlights serious issues related to judicial independence and media freedom in the country.
President Ruman Radhev, who supported anti-government protests last year and harshly criticized Borisov, said he had “voted against the destruction of the law.”
“These elections are a step towards a return to normalcy,” he added.
With the introduction of machine voting with regular ballot voting in the majority of major polling stations, the first part of the official results expected late Sunday night may be delayed.
The Central Election Commission is expected to release the official results by Thursday.