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Bulgarians Have Mixed Reactions After Rightists Win Election

posted 13 May 2013, 03:33 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 13 May 2013, 03:34 ]

Bulgarian opinion appears divided as the centre-right GERB emerges as winner of national elections. The party, led by Boiko Borisov, may struggle to govern.

SOFIABULGARIA (MAY 13, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Bulgaria appeared divided in reaction after the centre-right GERB emerged as the winner of national elections on Monday (May 13), but faced a struggle to form a government, suggesting no early end to the political stalemate that has gripped the European Union's poorest country.

The party led by Boiko Borisov, which according to preliminary results won 31.4 percent of Sunday's vote, will have first chance to form an administration.

Sofia resident Diana Dimitrova, said she was pleased with the result.

"In my opinion these are very natural results of well performed elections. GERB's victory, if we could call the result a victory, is good," said Dimitrova.

Other parties said they were reluctant to cooperate with GERB, which resigned from government in February mired in allegations of corruption, and the second-place Socialists said they would look to ensure Borisov did not return to power.

Another resident Diana Hristova said parties should form a coalition government as soon as possible.

"They have to form a government quickly, no matter with what kind of coalition. It would be bad to have more and more elections to spend money," said Hristova after buying her morning paper.

"They have to form a government quickly, no matter with what kind of coalition. It would be bad to have more and more elections to spend money," added Emil Mladenov.

The often outspoken Borisov kept an unusually low profile following the vote and GERB - which held debt and spending low before quitting during nationwide protests - did not hold a post-election rally or make grandiose victory claims.

Widespread disenchantment with the voting process was reflected in turnout figures of just 53 percent, the lowest for any parliamentary election since the fall of Communism in 1989.

"The expectations were the same as the results, but I wanted something different. The old parties are still in the parliament. The situation with forming a government is difficult," said another resident Ivan Antonov.

Six years after joining the EU, many of Bulgaria's 7.3 million people are angry about low living standards and graft, following a campaign that consisted more of mud-slinging than presenting clear policies, and was marred by a scandals over wiretapping and illegal ballots that hurt GERB's support.

Bulgaria has been run by a caretaker government since former bodyguard Borisov resigned from office in February during protests against low living standards and corruption, in which seven people set themselves on fire.

The unclear result of Sunday's vote raises questions over the country's economic policy and could mean another ballot will be needed, possibly in September, analysts and pollsters said.

With 69 percent of ballots counted, the Socialists were in second place, with 27.4 percent of the vote. Ethnic Turkish party MRF had 9.2 percent and nationalist Attack 7.6 percent with no other party was above the 4 percent level needed to enter parliament.

Several parties have expressed concern over vote rigging, though there have been few significant complaints so far.