Bulgaria faces fresh elections as Socialists refuse to form a government

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels
Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev arrives for a European Union leaders meeting in Brussels, Belgium June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool

SOFIA, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Bulgaria will head to its third national election this year, after the Socialists on Thursday became the third political party to refuse to lead a government following July's inconclusive parliamentary election.

The Socialists gave up on plans to form a working government after their potential allies, the anti-establishment ITN party and two smaller anti-graft parties, refused to back them. The party will return the mandate to the president on Sept. 7.

"We did our best and appealed for sense and responsibility, but it did not work out," Socialist leader Kornlia Ninova said.

President Rumen Radev faces having to dissolve parliament, appoint a new interim administration and call a snap poll within two months.

The new parliamentary election could be held as early as Nov. 7, or coincide with one of the two rounds of a presidential election, on Nov. 14 or Nov. 21. read more

The prolonged political uncertainty is hampering Bulgaria's ability to efficiently deal with a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and tap into hefty European Union's coronavirus recovery funds.

The Socialists' decision comes after both ITN, which narrowly won the July polls, and the centre-right GERB party of former premier Boyko Borissov gave up on attempts to form a government in the fractured parliament. read more

Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by Mark Potter

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