Bulgaria should hold an election as early as next month, the head of the ruling Socialist party said on Tuesday, saying the instability caused by having a government on “life support” was bad for the country. The Socialists have bowed to pressure both from their own coalition partner and the main opposition GERB party to hold an early election after their poor performance in last month’s European Parliament poll, gaining less than a fifth of the vote. Sergei Stanishev’s call for a vote in July is earlier than other parties would like. GERB would prefer an election to be held at the end of September or early October. The ethnic Turkish MRF, the Socialists’ junior coalition partner, would prefer November or December. Whichever date the president negotiates, any new government will have to take difficult decisions in its dealings with the EU and Russia over Moscow’s proposed building of a gas pipeline through Bulgarian territory to bypass Ukraine.
“Political instability is the biggest danger. Bulgaria does not need a government that is on life support,” Stanishev said. “If there is enough political will, early elections in July, by the end of July, are a possible and realistic option.”
Calling an early election would mark the second government collapse in two years in the European Union’s poorest state.
The Balkan state has been hit by political instability and street protests over corruption and dissatisfaction at the political elite since last year, and Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski’s minority government has relied on the support of hardline nationalists to survive a series of confidence votes.