Bulgarian socialist party leader Kornelia Ninova struck a civil tone in a brief election night statement on March 26, congratulating former prime minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB for its victory in the parliamentary poll, but ruled out a “grand coalition” between the two parties.
Ninova’s statement stood out in stark contrast to the barbed exchanges during the campaign period and the decade-long opposition between the two parties, which has often resulted in acrimonious exchanges on past election night news conferences.
Absent the usual vitriol and with a courteous acknowledgement of GERB’s victory, Ninova’s statement was unusually terse but not dissimilar to the stances taken by previous party leaders, highlighting the higher number of people who voted for the party.
Even though only exit polls were available at the time of her news conference, Ninova estimated that the party received double the number of votes compared to 505 000 in the October 2014 parliamentary elections, when in was on the receiving end of the backlash caused by the Plamen Oresharski government.
Ninova took no questions, saying only that if invited by GERB to participate in talks to form a government coalition, the socialists would not participate: “There are too many differences and we wanted to change the status quo […] A grand coalition is not possible.”
Should GERB fail to form a government, the socialists would make an effort to build a large enough coalition to have a stable government, she said.
(Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova. Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television)