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People wait as a woman casts her vote at a polling station during Bulgaria's parliamentary election in Sofia on April 4. (Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s still “hurricane season” in European party politics. In Bulgaria’s April 4 parliamentary elections, a quarter of voters backed Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, the center-right party of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov that is commonly known as GERB. But new parties that campaigned with an anti-corruption message did unexpectedly well, which means Borissov has no clear pathway to form a governing coalition. Two scenarios seem likely — a coalition of the newcomers or a caretaker government and early elections.

Here are four main takeaways.

Even a strong political record doesn’t mean a candidate is unassailable

Borissov has won every single election since 2007 and has served as prime minister for much of the past decade.…  Seguir leyendo »

A worker attaches barbed wire to a border fence to prevent illegal crossings by migrants at the Bulgarian-Turkish border in March 2016. (Dimitar Dilkoff/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Bulgarian legislators are gearing up to form a new government, following the March 26 parliamentary election, the third since 2013. Five parties made it into the National Assembly, but none of them won the minimum 121 out of 240 seats to claim a majority in the unicameral legislature.

Here is what happens next. Boyko Borisov's center-right, pro-EU party, GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) won 95 seats. President Rumen Radev is expected to officially grant Borisov the right to form a government later this week.

This will be Borisov's third and most challenging term as prime minister. GERB decided to partner with the United Patriots (UP), a coalition of three nationalist, far-right parties that won 27 seats.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rumen Radev after a press conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, in November. Nikolay Doychinov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Being Bulgarian, I can tell you that international news media cover elections in small European countries the same way a literature professor reads a spy novel during a summer holiday: It’s a pleasant diversion, but one quickly forgets the characters, and it doesn’t really matter if the narrative gets scrambled. Normally, this is not a problem, but it can become one next year.

In 2017 there will be elections not only in Germany, France and the Netherlands but also most likely in Greece, Italy and, again, Bulgaria. This will be a moment of truth for Europe. Social media is being invaded by fake news and conspiracy theories, while mainstream outlets are obsessed with the Kremlin’s interference in the electoral politics of Western democracies.…  Seguir leyendo »