2014-10-06 09:16:00

Political uncertainty following Bulgarian election

(Vatican Radio) Bulgaria's outgoing ruling Socialists have admitted defeat in Sunday's elections after exit polls showed victory for the center right party of a former prime minister. Yet, the outcome plunged the Balkan nation in a new political crisis.  

Supporters were celebrating the victory of the center right party Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria, or GERB. But at GERB headquarters in Sofia, party leader Boyko Borisov, a former prime minister, sounded less enthusiastic.    

Listen to this report by Stefan Bos

Exit polls showed his party won roughly a third of the vote, while the outgoing Socialists received just over 16 percent. 

Speaking to reporters, Borisov said it would be "very difficult" for him to form a government and even warned of new elections. However he left the door open for talks with possible coalition partners.

"It will be very difficult to decide with whom to negotiate and who to rule out categorically," he said. "Under this configuration I do not see how a government can be formed."

Sunday's vote was prompted by the minority socialist government’s resignation in July after only a year in office. 

The Socialists left after months of street protests and a weak performance at the European parliament elections in May.

Bulgaria's leadership has come under mounting public pressure amid the country's biggest financial crisis in years.  

Some 25 years after the collapse of Communism here, the country of just over 7 million people remains the poorest European Union member state. 

Voters are also outraged about widespread corruption.    

And Bulgaria has come under EU pressure to halt the Russian-backed South Stream natural gas pipe line project, amid Western concerns over to much Russian influence over energy supplies.  

Additionally the West has been reluctant to grant Russia a new stream of revenues because of ongoing fighting in Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists. 

Bulgaria's apparent prime-minister elect Borisov says he would continue building South Stream only if the EU approved, but Socialists want the project at any price.




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