Bulgaria’s Right Wins Election Amid Scandals, Unemployment

Former Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov’s conservative party won Sunday’s election, partial results showed, but might not be able to form a majority government as the Socialists expanded their share of the vote from 18 to 26 percent.

Far-right nationalists, who backed Borisov’s previous government, said on Monday that they would not join a right-wing coalition while the Socialists seek support from a liberal ethnic Turkish party to form a government instead. Read more “Bulgaria’s Right Wins Election Amid Scandals, Unemployment”

Prospects for Increased Balkan Security Cooperation Dim

Southeastern European countries that were once joined in Yugoslavia battle similar economic and security challenges yet prospects for enhanced cooperation in both areas seem dim.

Many of the West Balkan republics are coping with economic stagnation and high organized crime rates, the roots of which can often be traced to the political top, frustrating efforts to curb them. Regional cooperation to strengthen economies ties as well as the fight against organized crime promises improvement but chances of a true security community emerging are slim. Read more “Prospects for Increased Balkan Security Cooperation Dim”

Montenegro Reelects Pro-European Incumbent President

Montenegro reelected incumbent president Filip Vujanović last week by less than 8,000 votes, the Balkan nation’s electoral committee announced on Monday. Both the ruling socialist party’s candidate and his conservative challenger Miodrag Lekić had claimed victory.

Vujanović has held the presidency since Montenegro seceded from Serbia in 2006. The post is largely ceremonial. Real power is held by the prime minister, Milo Đukanović, also a Social Democrat.

Whereas Lekić campaigned against corruption and the political status quo, accusing the ruling party of monopolizing power and comparing his opponent’s premature victory claim to a “coup d’état,” the incumbent promised a “European” Montenegro by intensifying negotiations for accession to the European Union which began last year. Montenegro is considered next in line to join the bloc.

Of the former Yugoslavian states, only Slovenia is currently in the European Union. Croatia will join in July. Read more “Montenegro Reelects Pro-European Incumbent President”

Mounting Unrest Could Force Slovenia to Seek Aid

After Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and most recently Cyprus, the latest victim in the European sovereign debt crisis could be Slovenia, embroiled in economic and social upheaval. The Central European country of barely two million has been going through a political crisis.

Independent since 1991, Slovenia boasts a healthy economy, excellent health care and a solid welfare system. But its politics leave much to be desired. Falling governments, premature elections, a collapse of the banking system, bankruptcies and corruption have taken a heavy toll. The incumbent administration is already the eleventh in the state’s 22 year independent history. Read more “Mounting Unrest Could Force Slovenia to Seek Aid”