Moments after voting ended in Bulgaria’s March 26 2017 early parliamentary elections, an exit poll said that Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party had 32.2 per cent and Kornelia Ninova’s Bulgarian Socialist Party 28 per cent.
The exit poll, by the Alpha Research agency, indicated that the 44th National Assembly could have six parliamentary groups, going by the parties and coalitions said to have surpassed the four per cent threshold for election to the unicameral legislature.
Others said to have won seats were:
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which traditionally has a strong electoral base among Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity, founded by Ahmed Dogan: 9.7 per cent.
The nationalist United Patriots: 9.5 per cent.
Business person Vesselin Mareshki’s Volya party: 5.1 per cent.
The centre-right Reformist Bloc-Glas Naroden coalition: four per cent.
On the basis of this exit poll, Alpha Research estimated that in Bulgaria’s 240-seat National Assembly, GERB would have 86 to 88 seats, the BSP 75 to 77, the United Patriots and the MRF each somewhere between 25 and 27, Mareshki’s Volya 13 to 15 and the Reformist Bloc-Glas Naroden 10 to 11.
Among other notable contestants in the election, the results were said by the exit poll to be right-of-centre New Republic coalition 2.6 per cent, former justice minister Hristo Ivanov’s pro-judicial reform Yes Bulgaria coalition 2.9 per cent, the coalition of socialist splinters ABC-Movement 21 at 2.4 per cent and Lyutvi Mestan’s DOST party, a break-away from MRF – 2.7 per cent.
Those who voted “I don’t support anyone” was 2.9 per cent.
Voter turnout was seen at about 50 per cent.
Should these results be borne out by the official results to be announced by the Central Election Commission at the beginning of the week, a formidable task will lie ahead in the formation of a governing coalition, which would probably require at least three partners to be viable.
In the weeks ahead of the election, both Borissov and Ninova made statements about with which parties they would not govern – for instance, Borissov said that he would not involve the MRF in a coalition, while Ninova also indicated that there could not be another coalition with the MRF, although she repeated that should her party get the most votes, it would hold an internal poll of its members on which coalition partners they would prefer.
The March 26 elections were a sequel to Borissov’s resignation as prime minister in November 2016 after his party’s candidate was defeated in presidential elections by Roumen Radev, who stood as the candidate of an initiative committee backed by the BSP.
After Borissov’s resignation, attempts at forming a new governing coalition failed.
In the course of the election campaign, Borissov said that if his party came second, it would not seek to form a government even if a bid to do so by the party with the most votes failed.
A timeline of key political events in Bulgaria from 2007 to 2017 is available on The Sofia Globe’s special page.
The Sofia Globe election factfile about Bulgaria’s March 2017 vote is online here.
German-language coverage of the elections is on The Sofia Globe Deutsch page.