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European Elections 2024

How Romania and Bulgaria voted in the European elections

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Both Romania and Bulgaria held national elections alongside the elections for the European Parliament. In Bulgaria the centre-right GERB party is now in first place after Sunday's early parliamentary elections, according to the latest exit poll. 

A poll conducted by Alpha Research shows that GERB obtained 26.2% of the votes, while the reformist party We Continue the Change (PP) is in second place, with 15.7% of the votes. The centre right party also leads in the European elections.

Bulgaria needs a period of stability and a functional government to speed up the flow of EU funds into its creaking infrastructure and move towards euro adoption and full Schengen participation. Sunday's vote, the sixth in three years, was triggered by the collapse, in March, of the coalition formed by GERB and PP.

"No one achieves success without acknowledging the help of others. Those who are confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. Thank you, GERB! Thank you to everyone who supported us!", GERB leader and former prime minister Boiko Borisov said after the vote.

In Romania the social-liberal alliance got most of the votes. The Social Democrats and the Liberals chose to run together in the EU elections not only because they govern together in Bucharest but also to counter the rise of the populists, or so they said. The main reason was to improve their odds at gaining more votes, which they did. The two parties did manage to get most of the votes also because of the ploy they employed of coupling the elections for the European Parliament with the mayoral and local elections. 

"Tonight democracy triumphed. Social Democracts won the elections. Everything we achieved today represents the trust that the Romanians gave us, but also the work of each of our colleagues. The vote given today confirmed that we governed well in a complicated period, and the measures taken by PSD to govern were appreciated by Romanians", said Marcel Ciolacu, leader of the Social Democrats.

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His coalition counterpart and ex-PM, Nicolae Ciuca, said that over “ nine million Romanians voted so that the Liberal Party represents them”.

Broadly, the local election results were similar to the European election results.

The populist and nationalist Alliance for the Union of Romanians came in second with 15% of the votes and snatching six seats in the EU’s legislative body. The party’s leading candidate for the European Parliament, Cristian Terheş, warned throughout voting day that the main political parties could be cooking something up and all observers should remain wary. He said he voted for “people able to change Romania for the better and for those ready to fight for their country in the European Parliament”.

Coming in third place, the Alliance for the United Right, made up of several liberal parties, only managed to win three seats in the European Parliament.

Notably, voter turnout was 52.4%, the highest since Romania joined the EU in 2007.

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