Bulgaria castles

Bulgarian centrist party launches coalition talks after surprise election victory


Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev, leaders of the new Bulgarian centrist party “We continue the change”, react after the first exit polls in the parliamentary and presidential elections, in Sofia, Bulgaria, on November 14, 2021. REUTERS / Stoyan Nenov / File Photo

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SOFIA, Nov. 16 (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s new centrist anti-corruption party We Continue The Change (PP) will start talks to form a government on Tuesday after its surprise victory in Sunday’s national elections, the party leader said.

With the commitment to root out widespread corruption and bring prosperity to the poorest country in the European Union, the PP, created just two months ago, won the Balkan country’s third national elections this year. year with 25.7% of the votes.

The party needs the support of two other anti-corruption factions and the Socialist Party to form a majority, but political analysts see its victory as a chance to break the deadlock that followed two inconclusive votes in April and July.

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Anger at high-level corruption in April led to the ousting of the center-right party GERB after more than a decade in power, but political feuds between its opponents prevented them from forming a government even after a new one. vote in July.

“We plan to have talks today with the leaders of the other parties. We have a lot in common,” PP leader Kiril Petkov told private television NOVA.

Petkov, a 41-year-old business executive and former acting economy minister, was convinced that this time GERB opponents would put their egos aside as the country, faced with high energy costs and escalating markets. case of COVID-19, can not afford further elections.

The Balkan country needs a functioning cabinet to mobilize billions of euros in EU aid, accelerate growth and stay on track to adopt the euro in 2024 as planned, analysts say.

“Bulgaria’s credit outlook depends to a large extent on the creation of a new stable government … So far the signs are encouraging,” said Levon Kameryan, chief analyst at the rating agency. Scope, in a note.

Petkov was convinced that common ground with potential partners, the Socialists, the anti-graft faction of Democratic Bulgaria and the anti-elite There Is a Such a People party, could be found.

“We want to do a lot of the work before the formal vote for a coalition takes place,” he said, adding that part of the discussions will be broadcast online to ensure transparency.

Petkov sees himself as the next prime minister and co-leader of the PP, Assen Vassilev as finance minister, but said a final decision on the posts will be taken in the coalition talks.

The new coalition is expected to find ways to replace the current chief prosecutor and the head of the anti-corruption agency to end the climate of impunity in Bulgaria, ranked as the most corrupt member state in the EU by Transparency International, he said.

“There should not be a thief in Bulgaria who abuses public funds and who feels that he cannot be punished,” said Petkov.

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Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; edited by Barbara Lewis

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