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No clear winner in Bulgaria's general elections

No clear winner in Bulgaria's general elections

Bulgaria’s centra electoral commission says the country’s early election has ended without a clear winnerBy VESELIN TOSHKOV Associated PressJuly 12, 2021, 9:38 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria’s early election ended without a clear winner, the central electoral commission said on Monday with 95 % of the ballots counted.The center-right GERB party of former prime minister Boyko Borissov has a razor-thin majority over its main contender, the anti-elite There is Such a People party of popular TV entertainer Slavi Trifonov.The GERB party has won 23.91 % of the votes, while Trifonov’s party gained 23.66 %. The remaining 5 percent are votes from abroad who voted mostly for Trifonov in the previous poll. Four more parties have passed the 4% threshold and will enter the 240-seats chamber.In a first reaction to the outcome, Slavi Trifonov said his party will not enter a coalition but will seek to form a minority government after it receives the mandate.The snap elections were held just three months after a previous, inconclusive vote and produced again a fragmented parliament that will struggle to form a viable governing coalition. They also marked a further drop in support for Borissov’s GERB party, after the current caretaker government made public allegations of widespread corruption during his rule.All this leaves Borissov without any real chances of returning to office for a fourth term, regardless of whether his GERB party finishes first in the election, because most political groups have rejected the idea of cooperating with the ex-ruling party.NATO and EU member Bulgaria has been repeatedly criticized for not tackling corruption and for deficiencies in the rule of law and media freedom.The anti-corruption campaign of Borissov’s opponents was additionally boosted by the sanctions the U.S. Treasury imposed last month against several Bulgarian public officials and business leaders for corruption.

Bulgarians elect new parliament amid corruption worries

Bulgarians elect new parliament amid corruption worries

Bulgarians are voting in a snap poll after a previous election in April produced a fragmented parliament that failed to form a viable coalition governmentBy VESELIN TOSHKOV Associated PressJuly 11, 2021, 10:33 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgarians are voting in a snap poll on Sunday after a previous election in April produced a fragmented parliament that failed to form a viable coalition government.Latest opinion polls suggest that the rerun could produce similar results but also a further drop in support for former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB party, after the current caretaker government made public allegations of widespread corruption during his rule.NATO and EU member Bulgaria has been repeatedly criticized for not tackling corruption and for deficiencies in the rule of law and media freedom.The anti-corruption campaign of Borissov’s opponents was additionally boosted by the sanctions the U.S. Treasury imposed last month against several Bulgarian public officials and business leaders for corruption.President Rumen Radev, a vocal critic of Borissov, urged Bulgarians to vote massively in the election to bring “irreversible changes for the better”.“I voted for a Bulgaria where its citizens live with dignity and the young people have a future,” he said after voting.Hristo Ivanov of the Democratic Bulgaria party said the country must move on from the current situation of corruption and lack of perspective.“Our goal is to see a government that is ambitious, that really has the guts, frankly speaking, to do the necessary reforms, because removing Boyko Borissov from power is just the beginning, not the end, of dismantling the corruption system,” Ivanov said after casting his ballot.Despite the serious setbacks that Borissov’s GERB party suffered, the reputation of the 62-year-old political maverick remains high among his loyal supporters who are relying on their government-sponsored jobs to deal with economic hardships.Speaking to reporters after voting, Borissov criticized his opponents for allegedly trying to falsify election results as well as allegedly using “terror and repression” against him. But he said that wouldn’t contest the results of the vote.Polls suggest a tight race between Borissov’s party, which came first in April with over 26% of the vote, and its main rival, the anti-elite There is Such a People, led by popular TV entertainer Slavi Trifonov.The opposition Socialist Party is tipped to rank third, followed by the liberal anti-corruption group Democratic Bulgaria and the ethnic Turkish MRF party.The new center-left alliance Stand Up! Mafia Out!, which emerged after last year’s anti-government protests, is projected to pass the 4% hurdle to enter parliament.According to political analyst Dimitar Ganev, there are little chances for Borissov to return to office for a fourth term regardless of whether the GERB finishes first in the election because most political groups have rejected the idea of cooperating with the ex-ruling party.The 12,000 polling stations close at 8 p.m. There are 6.7 million eligible voters who are electing 240 lawmakers. Preliminary results are expected around midnight Sunday.

Corruption anger may yield new leadership as Bulgaria votes

Corruption anger may yield new leadership as Bulgaria votes

Voters are going to the polls in Bulgaria for the second time in three months this weekend after no party secured enough support in an April parliamentary election to form a governmentBy VESELIN TOSHKOV Associated PressJuly 9, 2021, 6:39 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSOFIA, Bulgaria — Voters will go to the polls in Bulgaria for the second time in three months this weekend after no party secured enough support in an April parliamentary election to form a government.Former three-time Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB party performed best in the inconclusive election, but it received only 26% of the vote. Public discontent over widespread reduced the party’s popularity from four years earlier, when it had 33% of the vote.The latest opinion polls indicate that support for GERB has dropped further since an interim government Bulgaria’s president installed in May opened investigations into alleged corruption during Borissov’s time as prime minister.Polls suggest a neck-to-neck race between Borissov’s party and its main rival, the anti-elite There is Such a People, which is led by popular TV entertainer Slavi Trifonov.“There are two clear trends in the last couple of months: erosion in support for the GERB party, mainly due to the actions of the caretaker government, and a slight but clear growth of There is Such a People,” Dimitar Ganev, a political analyst with Bulgarian research firm Trend, told The Associated Press.He sees no chance for political maverick Borissov, 62, to return to office for a fourth term regardless of whether GERB finishes first in Sunday’s election.“I expect the next government to be formed by the so-called protest parties,” Ganev said.Borissov previously managed to draw backing at home and abroad by combining populist man-in-the street rhetoric with pro-Western slogans.But thousands took to the streets during month-long protests last year and accused Borissov and his government of protecting oligarchs, refusing to reform the judiciary and suppressing freedom of speech.The interim government’s investigations have shed additional light on some of those accusations.Caretaker ministers have alleged that dozens of opposition politicians were illegally wiretapped before the April election. They also have claimed that billions in public money was distributed to favored private companies without a bidding process and that business people have become objects of intimidation and extortion.Bulgaria, a member of both the EU and NATO, also has come under scrutiny from its Western partners due to its long-standing problems with corruption, adhering to the rule of law and preserving freedom of the media.The U.S. government last month sanctioned several Bulgarian public officials and businessmen, including two powerful oligarchs, and their networks encompassing dozens of companies over their allegedly “extensive” roles in corruption. The U.S. Treasury said the move was its single biggest action targeting corruption to date anywhere in the world under the Magnitsky Act.Political analysts assume the U.S. sanctions, imposed just weeks before the election, could additionally boost the anti-corruption arguments of the protest parties.A key question in the upcoming vote is whether There Is Such a People and two other parties will win enough seats in parliament to form a viable coalition government.