Bulgarian TV Entertainer's Political Party Wins Parliamentary Election by Narrow Margin

A Bulgarian TV entertainer's political party won the nation's parliamentary election by a slim margin Monday, as nearly 99 percent of the ballots have been counted, the Associated Press reported.

Slavi Trifonov's anti-elite There is Such a People party won 23.0 percent of the vote, beating former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's center-right GERB party by 0.2 percent.

Trifonov said that his party won't form a coalition but would "take political responsibility" and propose a minority government of his own to Parliament.

The 240-seat Parliament is made up of four other parties, including the Socialist Party with 13.5 percent, the liberal anti-corruption group Democratic Bulgaria with 12.6 percent, the ethnic Turkish MRF party with 10.7 percent and the center-left alliance Stand Up! Mafia Out! with 5 percent.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Slavi Trifonov
TV entertainer Slavi Trifonov's There is Such a People party won the Parliamentary election in Bulgaria on Monday, beating out former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's center-right GERB party by a slim margin. Above, Trifonov performs during a concert as part of his campaign for a referendum on political issues on October 29, 2016, in Sofia. NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP via Getty Images

International observers said on Monday that fundamental freedoms were generally respected in the poll.

"These elections have taken place amid persistent public mistrust in the political establishment, mostly stemming from widespread allegations of corruption and an unsuccessful attempt to form a government following the elections in April," Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe official Artur Gerasymov said.

The snap elections were held just three months after an inconclusive vote and again produced a fragmented parliament that will struggle to form a viable governing coalition. They also marked a further drop in support for Borissov's GERB party, after the current caretaker government made public allegations of widespread corruption during his rule.

NATO and EU member Bulgaria has been repeatedly criticized for not tackling corruption and for deficiencies in the rule of law and media freedom.

The anti-corruption campaign of Borissov's opponents was additionally boosted by the sanctions the U.S. Treasury imposed last month against several Bulgarian public officials and business leaders for corruption.

The new parliament is expected to convene for its first session next week.

Bulgarian  prime minister Boyko Borissov
Bulgarian former prime minister Boyko Borissov electronically casts his ballot during parliamentary elections in the town of Bankya near capital Sofia, Bulgaria on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Borissov's center-right party lost to TV entertainer Slavi Trifonov's anti-elite There is No Such a People party Monday by a narrow margin. Visar Kryeziu/AP Photo