SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria's center-right party has fallen far short of winning a majority needed to form a government, according to nearly final election results released on Monday, and it appears to have no willing partners to join a coalition.
That would leave the second-place party in position to lead a new government.
The Citizens for Bulgaria's European Development party of former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov amassed the most votes with 30.7 percent, followed by the opposition Socialists with 27 percent with 96 percent of the ballots counted.
Results published by the Central Election Commission showed that two more parties will enter Parliament — the mainly Turkish MRF party with 10.7 percent and the nationalist Ataka party with 7.4 percent.
Borisov's prospects for forming a coalition government were small as all other parties have refused to join him.
"For the first time in the last 23 years we have a ruling party that has been reelected on top, but strangely enough what has been formed around this party is a 'cordon sanitaire.' Despite winning the election this political party is not in a position to shape the future of the country," political analyst Vladimir Shopov told The Associated Press.
Borisov has not made any statements after the vote.
If he cannot assemble a coalition, the will go to the Socialists, who said they were ready to seek broad consensus for an anti-crisis cabinet of technocrats to be headed by a former finance minister, Plamen Oresharski.
Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev said his party was ready to meet with all parties except Borisov's, as well as with citizens' organizations for such a cabinet.
"The only option is a programmatic government with strong expert participation and with a clear program," he said.
Analysts are less optimistic, saying that it will be very difficult to form a government that would be able to appease public discontent.
"I expect the country will soon head to another election," said Anton Todorov, a political analyst.
Disappointed with the election results and accusing the politicians with vote rigging, protesters on Sunday shouted "Mafia" and tried to storm the building where party leaders arrived for post-election news conferences. They were stopped by police in riot gear.
Stoyan Petrov, a 49-year-old shopkeeper voiced his frustration with the election outcome. "For so many years now, the same thing is repeating. We will again hear the same old song. I don't see how we can get the country back on a normal track," he said.