Bulgarian Ex-Premier Seeks Repeat Election Amid Court ChallengeElizabeth Konstantinova
Bulgarian ex-Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s Gerb party is seeking a repeat of the country’s May 12 election and is challenging the result in court.
Gerb, which won the ballot, will work to form a minority government if the appeal fails, Borissov told reporters today in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The party is asking the Constitutional Court to annul the election result because its rivals alleged vote fraud the day before the vote, he said. President Rosen Plevneliev said yesterday a new election would “destabilize the country and demotivate investors.”
Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest nation, is struggling to emerge from political turmoil that started with anti-austerity protests that forced out Borissov’s government in February. A new election would settle the tensions more quickly than a conflict-ridden coalition, according to the ex-premier, who rose to power in 2009.
A “coalition in which the partners have contradicting priorities will be more destabilizing to the country than another election,” Borissov said.
The yield on Bulgaria’s euro-denominated bonds maturing in 2017 fell to 1.726 percent from 1.737 percent as of 4:11 p.m. in Sofia. The cost of insuring the country’s debt against non-payment for five years using credit-default swaps fell one basis point to 104.
Gerb would only be able to ask the Constitutional Court for a ruling once parliament reconvenes, according to Bulgarian Law.
Gerb received 30.5 percent of the vote, while the Socialist Party garnered 26.61 percent, according to final results released today. The Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which represents ethnic Turks, won 11.3 percent, while the radical nationalist Attack party got 7.3 percent.
The result gives Gerb 97 seats in parliament, short of the 121 lawmakers needed for an outright majority.
Gerb is protesting over politicians comments about an announcement by the electoral commission that police found 350,000 ballots in excess of the amount ordered by the government in the town of Kostinbrod near Sofia.
Borissov’s rivals including the Socialists expressed concern in local media on May 11 that this was a foiled attempt by Gerb to forge the elections. Gerb argues that the comments breached a rule banning campaign activity on the day before the vote. Borissov also urged authorities to investigate the case of the extra ballots.
“At the moment, there is no evidence of severe election violations and manipulations which could lead to the question whether the nation’s vote was rigged,” Plevneliev said at a news conference yesterday. “I believe it wasn’t. This was confirmed by all relevant institutions. Bulgaria needs a working parliament as soon as possible.”
Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov told reporters in Sofia today he saw no reason to challenge the election before the Constitutional Court.
Plevneliev plans to hold talks tomorrow with the four parties entering the new parliament about when to convene the assembly. The president wants the session to begin by month’s end and then tap Gerb to start coalition talks.
The Socialists and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms said they are prepared to form a coalition, while Attack said that no government can be formed with the composition of the new parliament. The Movement ruled out a coalition with Gerb.