Bulgarian Parliament rejects new government proposed by leader of main party

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria’s Parliament on Wednesday voted down a minority government proposed by the center-right GERB party, which likely will bring the country closer to new elections. The move comes after six elections over the last three years that resulted in shaky coalitions.

Lawmakers voted 138-98 to reject the proposal designed to make Rosen Zhelyazkov, a 56-year-old lawyer and former speaker of Parliament, the next prime minister.

The GERB party finished first in the June elections, the sixth in the last three years, but only has 68 legislators in the 240-seat National Assembly.

The party picked Zhelyazkov to head a new government over its leader, Boyko Borissov, who led three governments between 2009 and 2021, when his third Cabinet resigned following major anti-corruption protests.

Although Borissov tried to find coalition partners in the fragmented legislature by refusing to become prime minister for a fourth time, his offer could not garner enough support.

The country’s president will now hand the next mandate for forming a government to the runner-up in the elections — the MRF party.

Analysts predict that after the first vote failed it will be hard to cobble up a viable coalition in this parliament, and that the likely option is a new election, which will deepen the political crisis in the European Union’s poorest member country.

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