Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, whose center-right GERB party was projected to win the country’s April 4 parliamentary elections, called on his opponents to join forces, hinting at the idea of forming a government.
“I offer you peace. Let us appoint the experts and until December we can overcome the pandemic and move forward,” Borisov said in a video on Facebook. “That is my offer to all of you. Let us choose the best people to do the job. United we are strong,” he said. The election was widely seen as a referendum on Borisov, who has dominated Bulgarian politics for more than a decade. In recent months the country has seen anti-government protests and is currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections. According to exit polls, the GERB party was projected to win about 25 percent of the vote. If confirmed, that would be down sharply from 33.5 percent in 2017. The Alpha Research polling firm put the opposition Socialist Party in second place with 17.6 percent of the vote. The protest There Is Such A People party, headed by television personality Slavi Trifonov, was third with 15.2 percent, according to the projection. Two other protest parties – the Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) and the nationalist Bulgarian National Movement (IMRO) – were also projected to win seats in the 240-seat parliament. The Central Election Commission (CEC) has published only incomplete results thus far. In the early hours of April 5 the commission said with just 16 percent of the votes counted the GERB party had with 24 percent, There Is Such A People party had 18 percent, and the Socialist Party had 15 percent.
Final official results are expected to be announced within days. If they confirm the projections, Borisov will be handed a mandate to form his fourth cabinet.
“I have always taken into account what the people decide,” Borisov was quoted as saying after he cast his ballot without reporters present due to pandemic restrictions. “Let the elections be honest.”
Borisov, 61, has dominated Bulgarian politics for more than a decade and most political groupings have rejected direct cooperation with the GERB party. Trifonov has ruled out a coalition with either the GERB party or the Socialists. Emilia Zankina, a Bulgaria expert and dean of Temple University’s Rome campus, told RFE/RL Borisov would likely form a “floating majority” among an “ideologically incongruent” cast of parties leading to constant bargaining on every issue. “Forming a stable government will be almost possible," Zankina said. "I don’t see this government lasting too long." Bulgaria is ranked last among European Union countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, and it has one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the EU. Members of the GERB party have been involved in a series of recent corruption scandals, sparking the country's largest anti-government demonstrations in years. Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across the country last summer to protest corruption and the alleged use of the judiciary to target GERB's political rivals.