According to an exit poll conducted by Alpha Research and published by the BNT public TV channel, Kirill Petkov’s We Continue the Change party won Sunday’s Bulgarian elections with 26.4 percent. His main rival, former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s Gerb party, won 25.5 percent. Three other parties also entered parliament, according to the survey, which may not reflect the exact results expected later tonight or Monday.
The country of 6.5 million people, the EU’s poorest, is seeking a way out of years of political deadlock after a series of inconclusive polls left no political force with enough support to win a governing majority. If the stalemate continues, another early election may take place this year, writes the summary Bloomberg.
During two years of short-lived governments, most of the power was in the hands of interim cabinets appointed by President Rumen Radev, who, although a NATO-trained former fighter pilot and general, took a pro-Moscow stance.
“The formation of the government remains a great difficulty,” Boryana Dimitrova, managing partner of Alpha Research, told BNT television. The close finish shown by the exit polls means that it is necessary to wait for the official result to determine how the government formation negotiations will proceed.
The crisis deepened the isolation of the Balkan country in the EU, and the planned accession to the Eurozone at the beginning of next year had to be postponed. In addition, the uncertainty of power also delayed the withdrawal of the European Union’s economic stimulus subsidies. The impasse has also stalled the process of drafting the 2023 budget law, and Central Bank Governor Dimitar Radev will remain in his post two years after his term of office expires, because the parties cannot agree on a successor.
If the exit polls are accurate, then Petkov’s block will be the first to receive the mandate to form a government from the president. Petkov, a former Harvard-educated businessman, vowed to form a minority cabinet.
However, the expected distribution of seats in the 240-member parliament shows that he needs the support of Borisov’s Gerb or Borisov’s party, or at least two other parties, neither of which are likely partners. Especially not the pro-Russian opposition party, which also opposes the introduction of the euro.
Cover photo: Kiril Petkov, former and new Bulgarian Prime Minister. Source: Borislav Troshev/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images