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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs