The EU has dodged a bullet in the Bulgarian elections with the victory of former prime minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party. For much of the campaign it looked like this small country on the southern fringe of Europe could become another disruptive force in a transforming EU.
Kornelia Ninova, the leader of the Bulgarian Socialists (BSP) who had been expected by some to win the election, ran her campaign on a pro-Russia platform, threatening to overturn the consensus on EU sanctions. “Foreign policy will be oriented to improve and develop relations with Russia, including taking concrete initiatives and steps for the removal of sanctions on the European Union to Russia,” she was quoted as saying. Her party also distanced itself from the traditional narrative on Bulgaria’s transition away from communism, claiming “Democracy took a lot away from us”.
It seems that this murky mixture of pro-Russian attitude and nostalgia ultimately scared off some of the voters and eventually led to BSP losing by five per cent to GERB.
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