SOFIA (Reuters) – In a last attempt to end Bulgaria’s prolonged political deadlock, President Rumen Radev has invited the Socialist Party to try and form a government, its leader said on Monday, but there was little chance it would succeed.

Bulgaria’s two largest political parties, the centre-right GERB and the anti-graft PP, have already failed to find support to form a working coalition government following an inconclusive Oct. 2 election, the country’s fourth in less than two years.

Bulgaria has suffered political instability since massive anti-graft protests in 2020. The Balkan country has been governed by caretaker technocrat governments for much of the past two years in the absence of a stable elected coalition.

“We understand the gravity of the situation. We will do everything we can to ensure that there will be a regular government,” Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova said after accepting the mandate from Radev.

The Socialists will seek talks with all other political parties in the parliament, but analysts say their chances of success are slim and another election in the spring is more likely.

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Bulgaria’s largest political party, GERB, as well as the second largest faction, the anti-graft We Continue The Change (PP), have said they will not back a Socialist-led cabinet. Both have already tried and failed to form a working government.

Failure to form a government would further weigh on Bulgaria’s plans to join the euro zone. It would delay much needed reforms to combat high-level graft and could hamper the efficient tapping of billions of euros in EU recovery funds.

If the Socialists fail as well, the president will have to dismiss the parliament and call a snap election within two months.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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