No Clear Winner in Bulgaria’s General Elections

July 12, 2021 Updated: July 12, 2021

SOFIA, Bulgaria—Bulgaria’s early election ended without a clear winner, the central electoral commission said on Monday with 95 percent of the ballots counted.

The center-right GERB party of former prime minister Boyko Borissov has a razor-thin majority over its main contender, the anti-elite There is Such a People party of popular TV entertainer Slavi Trifonov.

The GERB party has won 23.91 percent of the votes, while Trifonov’s party gained 23.66 percent. The remaining 5 percent are votes from abroad who voted mostly for Trifonov in the previous poll. Four more parties have passed the 4 percent threshold and will enter the 240-seat chamber.

In a first reaction to the outcome, Slavi Trifonov said his party will not enter a coalition but will seek to form a minority government after it receives the mandate.

The snap elections were held just three months after a previous, inconclusive vote and produced again a fragmented parliament that will struggle to form a viable governing coalition. They also marked a further drop in support for Borissov’s GERB party, after the current caretaker government made public allegations of widespread corruption during his rule.

Epoch Times Photo
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Sofia, Bulgaria, on July 11, 2021. (Valentina Petrova/AP Photo)

All this leaves Borissov without any real chances of returning to office for a fourth term, regardless of whether his GERB party finishes first in the election, because most political groups have rejected the idea of cooperating with the ex-ruling party.

NATO and EU member Bulgaria has been repeatedly criticized for not tackling corruption and for deficiencies in the rule of law and media freedom.

The anti-corruption campaign of Borissov’s opponents was additionally boosted by the sanctions the U.S. Treasury imposed last month against several Bulgarian public officials and business leaders for corruption.

By Veselin Toshkov