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.
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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid