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Bulgarian Parliament Meets For First Session After Razor-Thin Election Result

Iva Miteva speaks to the new parliament on July 21.

Bulgaria's parliament has met for the first time since an election earlier this month, with President Rumen Radev expected to formally hand the party There Is Such a People (ITN), led by popular television entertainer Slavi Trifonov, a mandate to form a government.

In their first order of business on July 21, lawmakers approved Iva Miteva of ITN as speaker by a vote of 137 to 1. In a sign of how fractured the legislature is following the elections, there were 99 abstentions.

Trifonov's ITN placed first with 24.08 percent, just ahead of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's GERB party with 23.51 percent in the July 11 election, the country's second in three months after the first was inconclusive.

ITN, which won 65 seats in parliament, had said before the vote that it would form a coalition with two other groups that were part of last year's massive street protests against Borisov's government.

But the final results of the election failed to bring the parties a majority in parliament and Trifonov has said he will form a minority administration in the EU's poorest member, which is also battling perceptions that it is one of the bloc's most corrupt.

Five other parties also made it into the 240-seat chamber, including GERB with 63 seats.

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