A pro-Western reformist bloc has won most of the votes in Bulgaria’s parliamentary election, according to exit polls, but it is expected to struggle to form a stable coalition government in the European Union’s poorest member state.
The reformist bloc, comprised of the We Continue the Change (PP) and Democratic Bulgaria (DB) parties, won around 25.3 percent of the vote on Sunday, an exit poll by Gallup International showed, just ahead of a centre-right bloc led by the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, which had around 24.7 percent.
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The polling agency Trend put PP/DB at 26.9 percent and GERB, along with its smaller partner the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), at 26.7 percent.
It was Bulgaria’s fifth election in two years, as personal antipathy between the leaders of the two main blocs has hampered the formation of a stable coalition government.
The PP/DB, in particular, accuse Borissov and his GERB party of presiding over rampant corruption in the Balkan state during their decade-long rule that ended in April 2021, something that Borissov denies.
The failure to form a stable government could undermine Bulgaria’s hopes of joining the euro currency zone in the near term and of being able to effectively use European Union COVID-19 recovery aid.
Exit polls show that other parties likely to enter parliament are the Bulgarian Socialist Party; the mainly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS); and Revival, a nationalist party sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine war.
Revival was in third place, with around 14.2 percent, according to Gallup International, potentially allowing it to play a kingmaker role in the new parliament.
The country’s political parties have struggled since 2021 to form stable coalitions, leading to a deeply fragmented parliament and a string of interim governments.
“No one inspires confidence any more,” Krasimir Naydenov, 57, told AFP outside a polling station in Sofia on Sunday.
He said he had voted nonetheless, hoping for “the government to start functioning again”.