Bulgarian president tries to break election stalemate

Plevneliev appealed to political parties to work together on forming a coalition government, and he said he would start initial consultations on Friday

Bulgarian president tries to break election stalemate

World Bulletin/News Desk

Bulgaria's president appealed on Wednesday to political parties to hammer out a coalition deal after an inconclusive election at the weekend left the European Union's poorest country with no clear candidate to form a government.

Bulgaria, plagued by poverty, corruption and organised crime, has been in a state of paralysis since nationwide protests forced the previous leadership from power, and it now faces more drift until a new government is formed.

A working government is needed urgently to negotiate EU funds for the next seven years, draft the 2014 budget, and try to address popular anger over poor living conditions and high power prices that sparked the protests earlier this year.

"It is important to have a stable government. Everything else, new elections, would mean detribalization," President Rosen Plevneliev told reporters.

"Bulgaria does not need new elections now. This will scare away investors," he said.

Plevneliev appealed to political parties to work together on forming a coalition government, and he said he would start initial consultations on Friday with a view to convening the new parliament before the end of the month.

However, it was not immediately clear how the coalition would take shape because no single party has a majority and rivalry between parties stood in the way of them joining forces to form a government.

The centre-right party of former prime minister Boiko Borisov, who once served as a bodyguard to Bulgaria's Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, won 30.5 percent of Sunday's vote. That was despite having been forced to resign in February in the face of the protests.

The Socialists were second with 26.6 percent, followed by the ethnic Turkish party MRF on 11.3 percent and the nationalist Attack on 7.3 percent, the central electoral commission said, without giving the exact seat allocations in the 240-member parliament.

There is so far no force that can pull together the 121 seats in parliament needed to form a viable government.

The Socialists and their partners MRF will fall one seat short, according to projections based on the share of the vote. Borisov's GERB party will fall just short as well. Attack would take Borisov's party over the threshold if they joined forces, as they have done in the past, but the nationalists have ruled out an alliance this time.

The stalemate has left Attack, which has an anti-Roma and anti-Turkish agenda and has promised to nationalise foreign-owned firms, as a king-maker. Any government that includes the party risks alarming the European Commission.

Last Mod: 15 Mayıs 2013, 15:24
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