Bulgaria president warns of instability after vote

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev warned Sunday that his country could enter a long period of instability if politicians failed to form a government after snap elections on May 12.

"The most important thing is what will happen after the elections -- whether we enter a period of prolonged instability or whether we form a stable, legitimate government" which gets down to work, Plevneliev told state BNR radio in an interview Sunday.

"Whatever happens, it will be difficult to form a government. That is why a nationally responsible attitude is needed if we are to avoid having a series of elections," he added.

Plevneliev urged all parties to come together and form a cabinet. This could be a coalition government or a "government of national consensus," he said.

A new poll published by state institute NCIOM on Sunday showed the conservative GERB party of ousted Prime Minister Boyko Borisov at 23.6 percent compared with 17.7 percent for the opposition Socialists.

According to the poll, GERB would fall short of a majority and would be forced to woo potential coalition partners in a highly fragmented parliament.

At least three more parties -- the Turkish minority MRF, ultra nationalist Ataka, and the centrist Bulgaria of the Citizens party run by former European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva -- are poised to pass the four-percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

These three parties have already said they would not govern with GERB, which was dealt a fresh blow last week when a massive scandal over the illegal wiretapping of top government members, opposition politicians and businessmen broke out in the media.

A leaked wiretapped conversation showed Borisov himself discussing a bribery probe against his farming minister Miroslav Naydenov with Sofia chief prosecutor Nikolay Kokinov and Naydenov himself, raising questions over judiciary independence.

The scandal, currently being investigated by prosecutors, has however failed to boost support for the Socialists, instead increasing the share of undecided voters, which now stood at 22 percent, the NCIOM poll showed.