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Bulgaria’s new parliament convenes for first session

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria’s new parliament convened Wednesday for its first session since the country’s July 11 election.

The second election in just three months elevated an anti-elite party as the winner to edge out Boyko Borissov’s center right GERB party for the first time since 2009.

The country’s president will give the party There is Such a People, led by popular television entertainer Slavi Trifonov, a mandate to form a government under the terms of the Bulgarian Constitution. The party’s nominee for parliamentary speaker, legal expert Iva Miteva, was elected to the position in a 137-1 vote Wednesday. There were 99 abstentions.

Even though the new party won the most seats in the election at 65, it fell well short of the majority needed to form a government on its own.

Five other parties have made it into the 240-seat chamber including Borissov’s GERB with 63 seats. The Socialist Party came in third with 36 seats, followed by the liberal anti-corruption group Democratic Bulgaria with 34 seats, the ethnic Turkish MRF party with 29 seats and the center-left alliance Stand Up! We are Coming! with 13 legislators.

Trifonov’s party had declared before the vote that it would form a coalition only with two other groups that were part of last year’s massive street protests against Borissov’s government. But the results show that their combined seats don’t command a majority in parliament.

Analysts predict that despite the widespread desire for change after months of protests, the vote failed to resolve the political impasse, and a possible fresh round of elections would only add to the woes of the European Union’s poorest member country.

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