Bulgarian parties struggle to form government
Bulgaria’s centre-right GERB emerged as the winner of national elections on Monday but faced a struggle to form a government, suggesting no early end to the political stalemate that has gripped the European Union’s poorest country. The party led by Boiko Borisov, which according to preliminary results won 31.4% of Sunday’s vote, will have first chance to form an administration. But other parties said they were reluctant to cooperate with GERB, which resigned from government in February mired in allegations of corruption, and the second-place Socialists said they would look to ensure Borisov did not return to power. Bulgarian Socialist Party finished second with 27.6%, according to preliminary results based on 99.3% of the ballots counted, the Central Electoral Commission said on its website. Ethnic Turkish party MRF had 10.6% and nationalist Attack 7.4% - though final results could change once votes from abroad, in particular Turkey, are counted.
Widespread disenchantment with the voting process was reflected in turnout figures of just 53%, the lowest for any parliamentary election since the fall of communism in 1989. Six years after joining the EU, many of Bulgaria’s 7.3 million people are angry about low living standards and graft, following a campaign that consisted more of mud-slinging than presenting clear policies, and was marred by scandals over wiretapping and illegal ballots.
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