GERB emerge on top but with few options
Boyko Borisov and his centre-right GERB party have emerged as the winner of Sunday’s snap general election but in a parliament that leaves few palatable choices for coalition formation.
Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) took 32.65% of the vote which should guarantee them 95 seats in the 240 seat national assembly. That is an increase of 11 seats, but the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) did even better, taking 27.20% and 80 seats, an increase of 41 seats on their 2014 tally. The BSP has ruled out any grand coalition with GERB.
Falling short by 20 seats of an overall majority GERB has three other potential partners. The right-wing to far-right United Patriots which dropped three seats to take 27 seats; this is an alliance of three parties which are nationalistic, Eurosceptic, anti-NATO and anti-Semitic. The centre-left Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) which represents the interests of Turkish minorities in the country and dropped 12 seats to take 26 seats. The last party to win representation is the anti-corruption pro-Russian and Eurosceptic Volya party led by businessman Veselin Mareshki which won 12 seats.
Forming a new coalition government could prove difficult with three parties covering very different interests, none of which fall easily with GERB’s programme. GERB may be forced to form a minority government and seek support for parts of its programme. Whatever the final solution to emerge in the next few weeks, the chances of a full parliamentary term seem pretty remote.