Opposition central-right party wins Bulgaria's parliamentary elections

The opposition center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party led by Sofia Mayor Boiko Borisov got an overwhelming victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections over the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) of Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, according to the results released on Monday afternoon by the Central Electoral Commission ( CEC) after all ballots were counted, Xinhua reported.
   According to the results, the GERB party won 39.71 percent of the votes for the 41st National Assembly, while the leftist " Coalition for Bulgaria" led by the BSP only garnered 17.7 percent of the votes.
   The ethnic Turkish party "Movement for Rights and Freedoms," which is also part of the ruling three-way coalition, placed third with 14.46 percent of the votes. The nationalist Ataka party took the fourth place with 9.36 percent of the votes, followed by the rightist "Blue Coalition" with 6.76 percent. The "Order, Lawfulness, Justice" party is barely passing the threshold with a little over 4.13 percent of the votes.
   According to the spokesman of the CEC, Bisser Troyanov, the results are preliminary and not final because the data are currently being fed into the system again. Thirteen regional electoral commissions were still expected to present the tally sheets to undergo this process.
   The final results will be announced within the legal deadline of four days by July 9, Troyanov said. The check for double voting will be completed by July 10.
   However, Outgoing Socialist Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev conceded defeat at a post-elections press conference late Sunday night.
   "We accept with respect the choice of the Bulgarian voters. The results are a big ordeal, and a serious loss," Stanishev said. He congratulated the GERB party, adding that their high number of votes meant great expectations.
   The Socialist-led three-way coalition managed to usher Bulgaria into the European Union in 2007, but has been harshly criticized both at home and abroad for its failure to reform slow and corrupt courts, curb the powerful organized crime and clear up its act in the absorption of EU development funds. Massive abuse by officials made Brussels suspend or scrap millions of euros in aid planned for agriculture and infrastructure.
   On the other hand, Borisov, whose former occupation included those of a firefighter, bodyguard, and police chief, embarked on his voyage for the higher office with the promise that Bulgaria is a different country and the guilty will be brought to justice.
   Although he had expressed his hopes for an outright majority, Borisov assured that negotiations with other political parties are underway.
   The Blue Coalition and another small rightist group, the "Order, Lawfulness, Justice" party, both said they were willing to join a new governing coalition.
   Bulgaria's next prime minister said that he already knows the line-up of the next government, adding that his main priority as head of the cabinet will be the construction of highways.

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