Bulgarian PM resigns after socialist elected President
Monday, 14 November 2016

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced his resignation and early elections after his conservative GERB party was defeated at the Presidential elections by the Socialist candidate, former Air Force General Rumen Radev. This is the second time Borisov is forced to cut short his mandate, after his earlier Government was brought down in 2013 by protests over electricity prices.


On Sunday, Radev and the Socialists were apparently better able to bring out the vote of the key Turkish minority voting block, as well as to cut a deal with the nationalist movement built around Krasimir Karakacanov, and handed a defeat the Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva, who was nominated by GERB. General Radev won 59 percent of the vote, to Tsacheva's 36 percent.


Initial comments are that Radev will deliver a pro-Russian turn in Bulgaria's foreign policy orientation, given the long standing ties of the Bulgarian Socialist, formerly Communist party, with Russia. Borisov, on the other hand, pushed a strong pro-Western course, to the point of cancelling several major energy projects with Russia, such as the South Stream gas pipeline and the Belene nuclear plant. Yet, he recently refused a proposal to station a NATO naval force in the Black Sea, which would have been a response to the Russian involvement in Ukraine.


Borisov is now calling for a grand National Assembly, which will remake the constitution. including reducing the number of members of Parliament. Early elections could be held in Spring, as outgoing President Rosen Plevneliev steps down, and, if the polls hold, GERB would still win, but would need to form a coalition with either the Turkish party DPS or with nationalist or splinter Socialist groups.


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