World news agencies: Parliamentary elections in Bulgaria will not produce a stable government yet again

On June 9, Bulgarians will vote in parliamentary elections for the sixth time in the last 3 years. Although the centre-right GERB received 25% of the vote and leads by more than 10 points over the second political force, the probability of forming a stable government seems small.

Sociological surveys point to a decline in the reformist coalition "We continue the change - Democratic Bulgaria" (WCC-DB). The reformist wing came to power after protests against Borissov's government in 2020 and a series of parliamentary elections in 2021. Despite its strong criticism of GERB's governance, WCC-DB participated in a 9-month coalition with Borissov's party, which most analysts say was the reason for their electoral collapse, reported AFP.
The predictions of political scientists and sociologists are that today's election will be followed by another parliamentary vote in the fall.

Bulgaria needs a period of stable and well-functioning government to accelerate the flow of EU funds into its infrastructure. Entry into the Eurozone and overland Schengen are the other priorities facing the country.

Plans to join the eurozone have already been delayed twice due to failure to meet inflation targets. Accession is currently scheduled for January 25, 2025, Reuters reported.

Failure to form a stable government will raise the risk of further delays, Teneo analysts said in a report last week.

According to them, so far Bulgaria has received only 1.4 billion euros out of a total of 5.7 billion euros available in grants from the EU's Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RSM).
"Bulgaria is in the conditions of the worst political instability since the end of communism. The reforms needed to unlock EU funding and full integration into the Schengen area for free movement may be further delayed," said Mario Bikarski, senior analyst for Eastern and Central Europe at risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft.

According to a recent survey by the Open Society Institute, 49% of Bulgarians polled prefer a "strong leader" - an image that former firefighter and bodyguard Borisov has long tried to project, even though he does not plan to serve as prime minister for another term.

GERB's partner could be DPS, which also has around 15% support, according to recent polls.
Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) leader Delyan Peevski, a 43-year-old lawmaker and former businessman who has been sanctioned by the US and UK for corruption, said during the campaign that he was "ready to rule".

Analysts, however, believe that the party's official presence in the cabinet risks provoking protests and could damage the country's image.

On the other hand, the secret behind-the-scenes partnership between GERB and MRF already dates back years, according to political observers.

The pro-Russian Revival political party (Vuzrazhdane) also received 15%, with Russian propaganda and disinformation playing a large role in the vote.

A survey by the Sofia-based think tank Center for the Study of Democracy found that nearly 40% of Bulgarians share misinformation, and almost 70% believe in conspiracy stories. | BGNES