Bulgaria’s centre-right GERB party leads in parliamentary election count

SOFIA (Reuters) – The centre-right GERB party was on course to have won the most votes in Bulgaria’s parliamentary election, but will have to seek coalition partners to form a government, partial official results on Monday based on 64.06% of ballots counted showed.

The results from Sunday’s election, Bulgaria’s sixth in three years, showed GERB winning 23.65% of the vote.

The Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF), mainly representing Bulgaria’s large ethnic Turkish minority with 15.89% of the votes and pro-Western bloc We Continue the Change (PP) with 15.08% were neck-and-neck for second place.

The ultra-nationalist Revival party stood on 14.33%.

Sunday’s vote was triggered by the collapse in March of a coalition comprising GERB and the PP.

NATO member Bulgaria needs a stable, functioning government to accelerate the flow of EU funds into its creaking infrastructure and nudge it towards adopting the euro and fully participating in Europe’s open-border Schengen Area.

Daniel Smilov, associate professor at Sofia University and programme director at the Centre for Liberal Strategies said GERB, Movement for Rights and Freedom and one of the smaller parties could be the most likely coalition partners.

“It (the coalition) could secure a certain degree of stability, but I am not sure about reforms especially those regarding corruption,” he said.

GERB leader Boyko Borissov led the country for more than a decade before losing power in 2021 after thousands took to the streets the previous year accusing him of failing to combat corruption and cosying up with powerful local oligarchs.

(This story has been corrected to fix the name of analyst in paragraph 7)

(Reporting by Stoyan Nenov in Sofia and Ivana Sekularac in Belgrade; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)


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