The centre-right GERB party of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is expected to gain the most votes in Sunday’s election, according to data released by the central electoral commission on Monday, but it could fail to secure a majority.
Borissov, 61, who has dominated Bulgarian politics for more than a decade, will have the largest party in the next parliament with 25.6 percent of votes after two-thirds of ballots were counted.
However, public outrage about corruption weighed heavily on the campaign, and he could struggle to form a coalition.
According to results, Slavi Trifonov’s new anti-establishment party, There Is Such a People, was in second place with 18.3 percent of the vote, followed by the opposition Socialists with 14.9 percent.
On Thursday, the official results will be released in their entirety.
According to Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Sofia, Bulgaria may be heading for a “unprecedented crisis” if a coalition government is needed.
“It could end up being some sort of limbo period as Bulgarian politicians try to work a way through and see if they can establish some sort of government,” he said.
In a divided legislature, Borissov has few natural coalition allies, with most parties opposing direct collaboration with GERB.
There could be weeks of negotiations, or even another referendum, preventing Bulgaria from accessing the EU’s 750-billion-euro ($884-billion) Recovery Fund, which was set up to help EU economies recover after the coronavirus pandemic.