Bulgaria anti-graft party drops bid to form government, extending deadlock

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The Balkan country has been in political crisis since 2020, when thousands of Bulgarians took to the streets to protest rampant high-level vaccination.

A snap election on 2 October, the fourth in less than two years, was inconclusive. After long-serving former premier Boyko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party failed to win support for a technocratic cabinet last month, PP also gave up on Friday, raising the prospect of another early vote in the spring.

In a vote of 114 to 63, lawmakers refused to approve a list of national priorities drawn up by the PP in an attempt to gain support for a minority cabinet alongside its smaller partner, Democratic Bulgaria.

The PP’s main rival, Borissov’s GERB, and the pro-Russian Revival party voted against, while three other political factions, including PP’s former allies, the Socialists, abstained .

Romanian President Radev will now have to choose another political party and ask it to form a government. If that last attempt also failed, Radev would dissolve parliament and call a snap poll within two months.

“On Monday we will be returning the unsatisfied mandate (to form a government) to the president,” said a PP spokesperson.

Failure to form a regular government within the currently elected parliament could jeopardize Bulgaria’s plans to join the eurozone in 2024. It would also delay much-needed reforms to combat high-level graft and could hamper the efficient use of billions of euros in EU recovery funds. .

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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