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Bulgarian PM Seeks Coalition Government But Says Effort 'Unlikely To Succeed'

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (file photo)
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (file photo)

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has announced plans to seek a coalition government after his center-right party placed first in the country’s parliamentary elections, though he cautioned he was "unlikely to succeed."

Following the April 4 vote, Borisov's center-right GERB party will be the largest party in parliament but far short of a majority, with some 26.1 percent of ballots won.

Coming in second with 17.7 percent was a new, antiestablishment party formed by popular Bulgarian talk-show host Stanislav Trifonov, while the Socialist Party and the mostly ethnic Turkish-backed MRF came third and fourth, respectively.

"We are obliged to our voters, who put us first, to propose an option. From the comments that I hear, this is unlikely to succeed," Borisov told his outgoing cabinet on April 7.

The long-serving prime minister said he was ready to back Trifonov to form a government in order to avoid new elections that he said could harm Bulgaria's ability to tap EU coronavirus recovery funds, battle a surge in new infections, and restart its battered economy.

"If they need it, I am ready to have 10 deputies ready to back them,” he added.

He made the comments after two small protest parties and the Socialists rejected his offer to form a technocrat cabinet to lead the country through the coronavirus crisis until the end of the year.

Trifonov's movement has said it would not get into any governing deal with GERB or the Socialist Party, or the MRF.

Borisov said that, if rivals wanted snap elections, the best way forward was to agree on a new constitution that could address changes in the electoral system and then call a vote for a grand national assembly that should approve it.

Borisov, 61, has served as prime minister for nearly the entire period since 2009 with a brief stint out of office in 2013-14.

With reporting by Reuters
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