Traffic chaos unfolding at Romanian–Bulgarian border

On Sunday (11 July), Bulgarians went to the polls for a second time in less than six months after former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov failed to form a governing coalition following April’s parliamentary election, writes Cristian Gherasim, Bucharest correspondent. With 95% of ballots tallied, former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov’s GERB center-right party came out first winning 23.9% of the vote, according to data provided by the Central Election Commission. Borisov’s party is neck and neck with the newcomer anti-establishment party “There is such a people” (ITN), lead by singer and television presenter Slavi Trifonov.

Borissov’s narrow lead might not be enough for him to retake control of government.

Anti-corruption parties “Democratic Bulgaria” and “Stand up! Mafia, out! “, ITN’s potential coalition partners received 12.6% and 5% of the vote, respectively. The Socialists obtained 13.6%, and the MRF party, representing ethnic Turks, 10.6%.

Some political pundits have speculated that ITN, Trifonov’s party – which avoided forming a governing coalition in April – could now try to form a majority with the liberal alliance Democratic Bulgaria and Stand Up! Mafia out! parties. This would see a populist party with no clear political agenda taking power.

However, the three parties may not get the majority needed to form a government and may be forced to seek support from members of the Socialist Party or the Movement for the Rights and Freedom of Ethnic Turks.

Boiko Borisov’s GERB center-right party which has been in power for almost the entire past decade has been tainted by graft scandals and the continuous nation-wide protests which only ended in April. In Republic of Moldova, president Sandu’s pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity secured a majority of votes in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. As Moldova is trying to get out of Russia’s grip and head towards Europe, the election struggle again saw pro-Europeans and pro-Russians locking horns.

The two directions are antagonistic and were an additional reason for the division of society, which fails to find its link to build together the future of the poorest state in Europe. More than 3.2 million Moldovans were expected to get out and vote to nominate their representatives in the future parliament in Chisinau, but the real impact was done by Moldavians living abroad. Moldovian diaspora help Sandu’s pro-European party secure the win and thus possibly opening the way for Republic of Moldova future European integration.

More than 86% of Moldovan citizens abroad, who voted in Sunday’s early parliamentary elections, backed President Maia Sandu’s Action and Solidarity Party (PAS). A PAS victory offers Sandhu a friendly legislature to work with while trying to put the country on a path to European integration. Maia Sandu promised before the Sunday vote that a win for her party would bring the country back into the European fold, focusing on better relations with both neighboring Romania and Brussels.

Much like it happened during November’s vote which saw Maia Sandu winning the presidency, Moldavians living aboard made all the difference as a good many voted for pro-European candidates. Talking to EU Reporter, Armand Gosu, associate professor at Bucharest University and specialist in the ex-Soviet region said about the pro-European win that “this victory creates the preconditions for a new wave of reforms, especially in the judiciary and the fight against corruption, reforms aimed at creating a favorable internal framework for foreign investment that will ultimately lead to an increase in living standards, the rule of law and a high degree of resilience in the face of foreign interference. Sunday’s result is a start, there have been other such beginnings, but in order to lead somewhere, the EU must also change its approach and offer a concrete perspective.”

Armand Gosu told EU Reporter that “Republic of Moldova is invited to reform itself, to enter into various cooperation mechanisms with the EU, to open its market for European products and to become more and more compatible with EU standards” but becoming a potential EU member country may take many decades to happen. Mentioning the Russian influence in the Republic of Moldova, Gosu said that we will see a clear detachment from Russian sphere of influence after the final results are in and after we will have new parliamentary majorities. “When speaking about Russian influence, things are more complicated.

The false pro-European governments that held power in Chisinau -referring to the ones controlled by the fugitive oligarch, Vladimir Plahotniuc- abused the geo-political discourse, the anti-Russian rhetoric in order to legitimize themselves in front of the West. Maia Sandu’s party is pro-European in another way. She talks about the values of the free world and not about the Russian threat as a pretext to limit civil liberties, to arrest people and to outlaw associations or even parties.

I believe that Maia Sandu has a correct approach, making profound reforms that will fundamentally transform Moldovan society.

In fact, the premises for Moldova’s exit from Russian sphere influence were created 7 years ago, after the outbreak of the war between Ukraine and Russia, in the spring of 2014.

The result of the vote indicates a social demand from society to move towards West, to support radical change, 30 years after independence.”