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Exit polls: Centre-right GERB take largest vote share in Bulgaria

Bulgaria's centre-right GERB of former three-time prime minister Boyko Borisov looks set to have won the largest share of votes in what was the country's fourth parliamentary election in 18 months, at 25%, according to exit polls on Sunday.

Bulgaria‘s centre-right GERB of former three-time prime minister Boyko Borisov looks set to have won the largest share of votes in what was the country’s fourth parliamentary election in 18 months, at 25%, according to exit polls on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the three parties of the previous government coalition under Kiril Petkov, leader of the centrist PP, lost their majority and only garnered some 38% of votes, the exit polls conducted by several polling institutes showed.

The PP came in second overall with some 20% of votes, according to the polls. Petkov conceded his party’s defeat. As the leading political force, GERB must now take responsibility and form a governing coalition, he told journalists.

It remains unclear what Bulgaria‘s next government could look like, as the PP had already ruled out a potential coalition with Borisov’s GERB ahead of the elections, accusing them of corruption.

Bulgaria held its fourth parliamentary election in 18 months on Sunday, this time with galloping inflation and rising energy prices on the minds of voters.

Public opinion polls had forecast that up to eight parties could clear the 4% hurdle for entry into parliament. Pro-Russian and nationalist party Vazrazhdane (Revival) gained ground and garnered some 11% of votes, according to the exit polls.

Official results are not expected until early in the week. Ahead of the vote, a large pool of voters told pollsters they were undecided and turnout looked set to be low on Sunday.

Former three-time prime minister Borisov left office after elections in April 2021 amid corruption allegations and street protests.

PP party leader Petkov was serving as prime minister until his liberal-socialist government was toppled in a no-confidence vote in June, paving the way for Sunday’s elections. A caretaker Cabinet now governs in Sofia.

The fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine has dominated the election campaign in the south-eastern EU country. The freeze on deliveries of Russian gas, rising prices, and a dispute over arms deliveries to Kiev has shaped the debate.

The were mutual allegations of corruption and incompetence, as well as personal insults, during the election campaign.

Under the slogan “Stronger than chaos,” GERB has promised to curb inflation and to follow a consistent NATO and EU course. The party says the euro common currency will be adopted in 2024 under its watch.

The PP’s motto is “Let’s finish our work.” By this it means the fight against corruption and reforms to the judiciary, which Petkov had promised during his term in office.

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