Bulgaria closer to early election as coalition talks fail

January 9, 2023 GMT

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria moved closer to yet another election Monday after a reformist party failed to secure a majority in parliament to form a new government.

It’s now up to Bulgarian President Rumen Radev to decide who he’ll next assign the task of forming a government after Prime Minister-designate Nikolay Denkov failed to convince a deeply fragmented parliament to approve proposed reforms and cobble together a working coalition within the allotted seven-day time span.

Radev must now give the mandate to a third party after the center-right GERB party couldn’t form a government. If that fails, he will dissolve parliament and schedule a snap election for the spring - the country’s fifth in two years.

Analysts expect that a new vote could have a similar outcome and continue the political showdown that has gripped the country since 2020, when thousands of Bulgarians joined nationwide rallies to demand reforms in the judiciary and efficient anti-corruption actions.

The crisis adds to the economic woes in the European Union’s poorest member as it could delay its plans to join the euro zone in 2024, as well as the timely receipt of billions of euros in EU recovery funds.