UPDATED: Bulgaria’s PM Borissov says he will not lead new government

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Bulgaria’s long-serving Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Wednesday he would not be a candidate to lead the next government after his centre-right GERB party won most seats but fell well short of a majority in an April 4 election.

GERB, which has led Bulgaria for most of the past decade, lost a fifth of its seats amid public anger over rampant corruption that delivered a more fragmented parliament in the European Union member state.

Borissov said GERB would hold talks with other parties to try to win enough support for a government once President Rumen Radev gives them a mandate to do so and would propose another candidate to lead it.

“I think it is not right to divide the nation …So I will propose another prime minister, with a very clear European and NATO orientation,” Borissov told reporters during a trip to the central city of Veliko Tarnovo.

Borissov, 61, declined to name a possible candidate but said national unity was crucial at a time when Bulgaria is struggling to cope with a surge in COVID-19 infections and with the economic impact of lockdown restrictions.

The five other political groupings in the new parliament have rejected Borissov’s initial proposal for a broad, technocrat government.

If GERB fails to form a government, the new, anti-systemic party of TV host Slavi Trifonov will be given a mandate to try.

Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest member state, may face another election if the parties do not manage to bury their differences and forge a coalition government.

Main Photo: Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov . EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET / POOL

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