Bulgaria is heading for fresh elections after the Socialists became the third party to fail to form a government following parliamentary elections on April 4.
The Socialists, who came in third place in the election, said on May 1 that they would return the mandate to form a government to President Rumen Radev on May 5.
The announcement came after both the center-right GERB party of outgoing, three-time Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the new anti-establishment party, There Is Such a People (TSN), led by television personality Slavi Trifonov, also gave up trying to form a government.
Under the constitution, if the national assembly fails to form a cabinet after three attempts, the president should dissolve parliament, appoint a caretaker government, and schedule an early election within two months.
The most likely date for a new election is July 11.
While Borisov's GERB came in first in the election, frustration over endemic corruption and poverty cut support for the party to 26 percent.
The TSN, which came in second with 18 percent of the vote, and two other anti-establishment parties made inroads, although the three together lack a majority in the chamber.
The political uncertainty comes as Bulgaria prepares to spend billions of euros from the EU's coronavirus recovery fund and chart a path out of the pandemic.
Bulgaria Set For Early Elections After Last Attempt To Form Government Fails