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Bulgaria is facing new elections as the Socialists refuse to form a government

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev gives mandate to form a new government to former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov of the center-right GERB party in Sofia, Bulgaria, April 20, 2021. REUTERS / Stoyan Nenov

Bulgaria will turn to the ballot box in July after the Socialists became the third political party on Saturday to refuse to lead a government since last month̵

7;s parliamentary elections.

The Socialists, who lost almost half of their seats in the April 4th election, said it would be impossible to build a working majority in a fragmented parliament and would return the mandate as soon as the president handed it over to them on May 5th.

President Rumen Radev is facing the dissolution of parliament, the appointment of an interim administration and the convening of extraordinary polls within two months – most likely on July 11th.

Prolonged political uncertainty could hamper the European Union’s poorest Member State’s ability to restart its pandemic-devastated economy and effectively use the € 750 billion ($ 896 billion) coronavirus recovery fund.

The Socialists’ decision comes after both the center-right GERB party of outgoing three-time prime minister Boyko Borissov and the new anti-establishment party ITN, led by TV presenter and singer Slavi Trifonov, both gave up trying to form a government.

Popular anger over widespread corruption after nearly a decade of Borissov’s rule has boosted support for the anti-elite ITN party and two smaller anti-transplant groups, although the three together do not have a majority in the chamber.

The Socialists, who campaigned for the overthrow of GERB’s Borisov, said the three new parties refused to enter into an alliance with them.

“The three new parties in parliament have shown political immaturity, they have not been able to overcome their egos,” Socialist leader Cornelia Ninova told reporters after a party meeting.

“In this situation, despite our will to change, a government led by us, even temporarily, is impossible.”

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