Borisov party wins in Bulgaria

The pro-Western, conservative Gerb party won Sunday's early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, taking the lead against the pro-Russian Socialists. With this outcome it is highly likely that Boyko Borisov will become prime minister for the third time. Commentators explain why the Bulgarians put their trust in Borisov despite all his shortcomings rather than in the Eurosceptic parties.

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Dnevnik (BG) /

No alternative to governing party

Who else is going to win if not Borisov's Gerb party, Dnevnik asks:

“Gerb is the only party in the political history of the world to have won four consecutive elections without ever having completed a mandate. There can only be one reason for this: the citizens aren't being offered any genuine alternatives. The BSP, the successor of the Bulgarian Communist Party which has always emerged as the second-strongest party in the last eight years, is not an alternative to Gerb and never can be. Bulgaria's political system still functions according to the principle that no matter what election result the former communists achieve, the votes against them will outweigh those results.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Borisov must tackle reforms

After his victory the old and most likely new prime minister Boyko Borisov must finally introduce reforms or risk offending voters, Der Standard demands:

“The disappointment over stalled reforms hasn't caused people to turn their backs on the EU, which they still strongly support. Polls according to which Bulgarians trust EU institutions more than their own in Sofia confirm this. The election result therefore by no means gives Borisov carte blanche to muddle along as before. If he doesn't start tackling reforms and corruption soon his pro-European orientation could come to be seen as a meaningless guise - and discredit people's hopes in the EU.”

e-vestnik (BG) /

Bulgarians let Borisov get away with anything

This latest victory for Borisov and his Gerb party is a bitter pill for e-vestnik to swallow:

“A few days before the election the investigative website Bivol published a short article proving that the former [Gerb] economics minister Delyan Dobrev together with his partners and relatives received around 51 million euros in government contracts. Not one or two but 51 million euros. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for Gerb's time in government, but this doesn't seem to bother voters. The level of tolerance for corruption is high and any factor that shows that Borisov is trampling on the law is simply ignored by the media and society. They let Borisov get away with anything. They even give him the right to continue as before.”

Duma (BG) /

Election result was bought

The proportion of votes that were bought must have been dreadfully high in this election, the socialist daily Duma concludes after Bulgaria's public prosecutors' office announced that there were more indications of vote-buying than in the 2014 election:

“When the number of purchased votes was estimated at around half a million back then it seemed incredible. Now, however, it seems even more can be bought. … Changes to the electoral law shortly before the election and gift food packages marked with the party logo are part of the issue. In addition there was the haggling for votes in the Roma districts, which reached its pinnacle yesterday afternoon during the vote. The close race between the parties drove up prices - in Stolipinovo [Bulgaria's largest Roma district] the going rate for a single vote was up to 200 lev [around 100 euros]. … And now they're trying to fob us off with border blockades and stories about foreign influence.”