Elections in Bulgaria: Voters Play It (Mostly) Safe

On March 26, 2017 Bulgaria held snap elections and five parties managed to get over the 4% threshold. The elections took place after PM Boyko Borissov of GERB resigned in November 2016 after his candidate lost the presidential elections to the rival BSP.

The center-right GERB won the vote with 32.66%. The center-left Bulgarian Socialist Party came second with 27.19%. The nationalist parties, gathered in the United Patriots coalition, came in third with 9.07% of the votes. The Turkish-minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) is forth with 8.99%. The newly formed populist Volya (Will) of tycoon Vesselin Mareshki managed to get 4.15%, building popularity on discount medicines and gasoline. Some 2.50% of people chose the option "I don’t support anyone" on the ballot.

The most likely prospect is a GERB-led government with the support of the United Patriots and Volya of Mareshki. This will make Boyko Borissov a third time prime minister, after his two unfinished terms in 2009-2013 and 2014-2016. Alternatively, if GERB fails to form a government, BSP will form a cabinet with the Patriots, Mareshki and possibly DPS. There is the usual talk of a grand coalition, but it is less likely to happen and a minority government of a single party is even less likely, said Marin Lessenski, Director of the European Policies programme of the Open Society Institute – Sofia.

Full text of the "Elections in Bulgaria: Voters Play It (Mostly) Safe" is available here.

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