Bulgaria holds national elections, sixth in three years

Voting is under way for a new parliament in Bulgaria, making it the sixth parliamentary election in just over three years.

The vote is taking place parallel to the European elections.

The government crisis that triggered the latest elections was the break-up of the pro-Western liberal-conservative coalition government led by Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov.

There are 22 parties and 11 coalitions on the ballot.

According to polls, the centre-right Gerb-SDS alliance of former prime minister Boiko Borissov, which was in power until March, has a clear lead and is expected to pick up about 25% of the vote.

The new election will determine whether there will continue to be a pro-Western government in what is the poorest EU country.

The two pro-Western camps – Gerb-SDS and PP-DB – want to stick to Bulgaria’s Euro-Atlantic course.

In contrast, the pro-Russian Vazrazhdane party is demanding that Bulgaria’s EU membership be renegotiated and that the country leave the NATO military alliance.

Vazrazhdane and the Socialists (BSP) – who are likely to receive only 8% of the vote – are demanding that Bulgaria cease its military aid to Ukraine.