SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — An exit poll in Bulgaria hinted Sunday that former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB party, a center-right party accused of tolerating corruption during years of rule, was the likely winner of the elections. parliamentary elections.
The Gallup International poll showed GERB garnering 24.6% support against 18.9% for former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s pro-Western reformist party Let’s Continue the Change.
It could be days before the final official results are announced. If the polls are confirmed, Borisov will receive a popular mandate to form his fourth cabinet. However, it will be difficult for him to achieve a stable government coalition, as most political groups have rejected any cooperation with his party in advance.
Sunday’s snap election took place after a fragile Petkov-led coalition lost a no-confidence motion in June. Petkov even claimed that Moscow used “hybrid warfare” tactics to topple his government because he refused to pay Russian gas bills in rubles and ordered the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria.
The fourth elections in Bulgaria – which is part of the European Union – in 18 months were marked by the war in Ukraine, political instability and economic difficulties in the poorest member of the EU. The low voter turnout—it was nearly 30% by 5 p.m., lower than in previous elections—reflected voter apathy.
The exit poll suggested that eight parties could reach the 4% threshold to enter a fragmented Parliament in which populist and pro-Russian groups appear to have greater representation.
After casting his vote on Sunday, Borissov told reporters that Bulgaria needs to clearly define its position on the war in Ukraine.
“With this aggression, with this war in which there is a clear aggressor in (Russian President Vladimir) Putin —I have nothing against the Russian people_, with this farce of referendums, Bulgaria must be very clear, categorical and precise about its place in the European Union and NATO,” he added.