Bulgaria’s incoming parliament looked set to contain a record eight political parties late Sunday night after voting booths closed, further fragmenting the country’s disparate political scene and creating hurdles to the formation of a coalition government. The established right-leaning party, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, or GERB, took about one-third of all votes cast, according to preliminary results of the parliamentary election, falling short of securing an outright majority as several new parties passed the 4% threshold to move into parliament. GERB’s results were more than that of the two nearest parties combined. The Bulgarian Socialist Party, which led the coalition government from May 2013 till this August, took about 15.5% of the vote. The Movement for Rights and Freedoms, or DPS, a party comprised mostly of Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity that was a junior member in the previous coalition, won some 15% of the vote. If eight political parties do enter the incoming parliament, it would be an all-time high.
“The presence of so many parties will be a serious obstacle to forming a coalition,” said Ognyan Minchev, a political analyst and chairman of the Institute for Regional and International Studies in Sofia.
Compromise among the multiple parties will be crucial if a government is to be formed. The country faces urgent domestic and international questions, ranging from resolving the country’s worst banking crisis in nearly two decades to settling several points of contention with the European Commission, political analysts said.