News / Europe

Bulgarian President Tries to Break Election Stalemate

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev speaks during news conference, Sofia, May 15, 2013.
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev speaks during news conference, Sofia, May 15, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Bulgaria's political stalemate deepened on Wednesday after final results confirmed a prospective Socialist alliance with ethnic Turkish MRF allies lacking a majority, and its president warned of destabilization without a new government soon.
 
President Rosen Plevneliev appealed to political parties to hammer out a coalition deal after the inconclusive weekend election in the European Union's poorest member state.
 
"It is important to have a stable government. Everything else, new elections, would mean destabilization," he told reporters. "Bulgaria does not need new elections now. This will scare away investors."
 
Plagued by poverty, corruption and organized crime, Bulgaria has been in political disarray since nationwide protests forced the previous leadership from power, and it risks drifting further until a new government is formed.
 
A turnout of just 51 percent, the lowest since the fall of communism in 1989, drove home the deep frustration of many Bulgarians with an entrenched political elite seen as corrupt and self-interested, and unable to boost incomes.
 
A working government is needed urgently to negotiate EU funds for the next seven years, draft the 2014 budget and try to address popular anger over poor living conditions and high energy prices that kindled unrest earlier this year.
 
Political uncertainty has driven up the cost of insuring Bulgarian debt against default since last week.
 
It now costs $110,000 annually to buy $10 million worth of protection against a Bulgarian default using a five-year CDS contract, up from $92,000 on Friday, according to credit default swaps prices from provider Markit.
 
Jitters over instability
The business community worries that an unstable government forced to rely on unpredictable nationalists who demand state takeovers of companies and huge wage increases might deter investment urgently need to kickstart growth.
 
Plevneliev said he would start consultations on Friday with a view to convening the new parliament before the end of May.
 
But it was not immediately clear how the coalition would take shape as the official results showed no group would get over the 121-seat threshold needed to form a viable government.
 
The center-right party of former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, who once served as a bodyguard to Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, won 97 seats in the 240-strong parliament. But it has little chance of governing as other groups shun it.
 
Borisov's GERB party has in the past ensured a majority by getting the support of the Attack party but the nationalists have ruled it out this time around. Even if they changed their mind, their alliance would be one seat shy of a majority.
 
GERB has been tarnished by its fall to street unrest and its embroilment in scandals over wiretapping and illegal ballots.
 
The more likely government will be one formed by the second largest group, the Socialists, who have voiced readiness for a non-partisan technocratic administration to shepherd a rise in living standards and avert further unrest.
 
But the final results showed that the Socialists and their allies, the ethnic Turkish MRF, would also be a seat short of a majority and would need to persuade Attack, or individual legislators from either GERB or Attack, to work with them.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid