Populist formation There Is Such a People (TISP) has won Bulgaria's July 11 snap general election with a margin of less than a percentage point ahead of the centre-right coalition of GERB and the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), final official results showed on Wednesday.
With 100% of the votes counted, TISP led by musician and former TV host Slavi Trifonov is in first place with 24.08% support, followed by GERB - UDF coalition led by three-times prime minister Boyko Borissov, which won 23.51%, according to data released by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC).
The Bulgarian Socialist Party, which was GERB's main opposition in the previous parliament, is third with 13.39% backing.
Anti-status quo, pro-reform Democratic Bulgaria coalition followed in fourth place with 12.64% support, while the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which traditionally is drawing support mainly among Bulgarian ethnic Turks and Muslims and has been seen as a traditional kingmaker, came in fifth place with 10.71%.
Rise Up, Thugs Out! political formation led by ex-ombudsman Maya Manolova which organised a series of street protests against the GERB-led government coalition last year is the sixth and last political force that managed to cross the 4% threshold to enter the new parliament, winning 5.01% of the vote.
The results of the snap vote indicate that forming a government coalition in the new fragmented parliament will be again hard to achieve. In May, Bulgarian president Rumen Radev dissolved parliament and called snap elections for July 11, after none of the three biggest political formations that entered the National Assembly after the inconclusive regular vote in April - GERB-UDF, TISP and the Socialists, failed to assemble a government coalition. A total of six political parties entered parliament after the April vote, with each of them having neither enough seats to govern on its own, nor enough partners to try to put together a coalition cabinet.
On Monday, before the final results of the vote were out, Trifonov said that TISP is proposing a minority government, to be led by former economy minister and deputy prime minister Nikolay Vasilev. TISP will not enter a coalition with other anti-establishment parties, Trifonov said, as seen in a video file published on his Facebook profile.
The other anti-establishment parties Democratic Bulgaria and Rise Up, Thugs Out!, neither of which has enough support to form a government on its own, in the days after the vote have expressed their disapproval of the way TISP is proposing a cabinet. Thоse parties have also repeatedly said that a coalition with the UDF-GERB is not on the agenda.
According to the constitution, the president should now hand a mandate to form government to a candidate proposed by the party which has won the largest number of votes. If the election winner fails to propose a government that will be backed by at least 121 of 240 members of parliament, the president should hand the mandate to a candidate proposed by the second-largest parliamentary group. If that candidate also fails to propose a cabinet that would be backed by a parliamentary majority, the president is required to hand the mandate to a representative of any of the remaining parliamentary groups.
If no government is formed after that round, the president will appoint a new caretaker government and call new elections.