Brussels (Brussels Morning) A new anti-corruption party emerged as a relative winner in the third Bulgarian parliamentary elections to be held this year, raising hopes for an end to a sustained government crisis resulting from parliamentary parties proving incapable of agreeing on a ruling coalition despite two previous elections since the beginning of the year.
The centrist We Continue the Change (PP) party won around 26% of the popular vote on Sunday, finishing ahead of the centre-right GERB party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, which won around 22%.
The PP is led by two Harvard-educated entrepreneurs who both served as interim ministers appointed by President Rumen Radev after elections in April failed to result in a majority government. Party president Kiril Petkov served as interim economy minister, while co-founder Asen Vasilev served as finance minister.
Analysts believe they have a good chance of forming a majority, as they have the potential to bridge the divide between the country’s right and left.. None of the major parties is willing to cooperate with GERB, meanwhile, as former PM Borissov is widely perceived as having allowed corruption a free rein to run rampant in the country.
“Bulgaria is taking a new path”, Petkov declared after the polls closed. “Left, centre or right, it doesn’t matter. If we can stop corruption and redistribute money for the wellbeing of taxpayers, then we should be able to come to an agreement with several parties.”
The populist There is Such a People (ITN) party, led by popular singer and TV host Slavi Trifonov, lost a significant portion of its support since the July elections, when it emerged as the winner with some 23% of the vote. On Sunday, exit polls were giving Trifonov’s party around 9.8%, indicating the voters were partially blaming him for failing to compromise and refusing most coalition offers in the past two elections.
According to Bulgarian analysts, PP could achieve a stable majority if it secures support from the socialist BSP for Bulgaria bloc, which won 10.3% of the vote, along with a lesser anti-graft party, Democratic Bulgaria (DB), and Trifonov’s ITN.
President Radev also emerged as the frontrunner in the presidential elections, which were held simulataneously on Sunday, when he almost secured a first round win with 49.2% of all votes, which leaves him all but guaranteed to secure another term in the second round.run-off