The victory of the populist There Is Such a People party (ITN) in parliamentary elections in Bulgaria appears certain with almost all votes counted.
An official interim result – based on 98.9 per cent of ballots – put the populists in first place with 23.91 per cent of the vote, just ahead of former prime minister Boyko Borisov’s conservative GERB party, with 23.69 per cent.
The final result will be announced on July 18, once votes from Bulgarian citizens living abroad have been counted.
The anti-establishment ITN party, headed by popular TV talk show host and singer Slavi Trifonov, was only founded in 2020 and is not affiliated with any political group in the European Parliament.
Despite the outcome of the election remaining uncertain, Trifonov set out his plans for a minority government on Monday.
It was initially unclear whether Trifonov’s proposed cabinet was drawn up in consultation with other opposition parties or not.
Under the plan, the prime minister is to be the renowned economic and financial expert Nikolay Vasilev, a former deputy head of government and a minister from 2001 to 2009.
A total of six parties have overcome the required four-per-cent threshold needed to enter parliament, meaning that despite winning the popular vote, the anti-Borisov camp will still fall short of an absolute parliamentary majority.
With opposition parties ruling out forming a coalition with Borisov’s GERB due to what they believe were his corrupt practices in the last coalition government, it now seems certain that the Borisov era in Bulgarian politics is at an end.