New GERB party narrowly wins Bulgaria's first European Parliament election


SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov's newly formed Citizens for Bulgaria's European Development (GERB) -- narrowly won Bulgaria's first European Parliament (EP) election, the Election Commission announced on Monday (May 21st). GERB ended up with 21.69% of the vote, edging out the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party's (BSP) coalition Platform European Socialists which received 21.41% and the predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), a junior government partner, with 20.26%. Each of the three leading parties could receive five of Bulgaria's 18 seats in the EP. The official seat distribution is expected to be announced by Wednesday.

The ultra nationalist opposition coalition Attack was fourth with 14.22%, and the second junior cabinet ally, NMS-II, followed with 6.26% are also expected to gain EP seats. None of the other parties, including three minor right-wing opposition ones, managed to pass the election threshold -- which resulted in the resignation of the leader of the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria.

Election turnout was only 28.6%, the lowest level registered since 1990. Analysts say voters may have punished BSP for the ongoing corruption scandal involving senior government and intelligence officials. (Sega, bTV, Darik, Dnevnik, Reuters, AP, UPI, BNR - 21/05/07)

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