Bulgaria's next government will be a three-party coalition, the country's former Socialist president has forecast, declining to disclose its members.
"It is mission impossible for the currently ruling party GERB to garner enough votes and form a minority government," Georgi Parvanov said in an interview for Darik radio.
According to Parvanov the new government, regardless of its line-up, will need strong support by the people to conduct the badly needed reforms, which were not carried out over the last four years.
He however did not name the parties that could team up with the Socialist Party in case of a coalition government.
Fitness for office in the eyes of Bulgarian voters will be decided in 2013 after a pre-election campaign that may or may not quicken their pulse. For the first time since the collapse of the communist regime in Bulgaria there will be no single odds-on favorite to become the country's next prime minister, polls say.
At the election, penciled in for the summer or autumn of 2013, Bulgarians will have to make a stark choice about what comes next. They can decide to go for more of the same and put their faith again in current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, bank on the old faces from the previous government, throw common sense to the wind and vote for the ethnic Turks/the nationalists or give former European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva another chance to give the country an EU facelift.
Or they may simply refuse to go to the polls, which is what most Bulgarians may do, just because there is no new messiah looming on the horizon.
Four years ago the electorate was yearning for a dominant leader to reverse the perceived failures of the previous Prime Minister Stanishev and his gridlocked three-party coalition and fell under the spell of Borisov's charisma.
His rumored links to organized crime, roughness and lack of sophistication however can hardly be touted as a badge of honor any more with Bulgarians getting poorer and unhappier due to lack of reforms, lack of economy and lack of justice.
It is a combination of initially overestimating his political talent and underestimating his mercurial and impatient manner that at the end of the day eroded his approval ratings and boosted support for the Socialists.
But voters find it hard to forget that their leader Sergey Stanishev ended his term as prime minister in 2009 weak and barely holding onto power, unable to shed off suspicions he was just a puppet in the hands of former energy and interior ministers Rumen Ovcharov and Rumen Petkov.
The third major candidate - former EU commissioner Meglena Kuneva - is more comfortable on the world than the Bulgarian stage and is no novice at playing on larger arenas, which puts her in stark contrast with Borisov. But she does not seem to have the potential to hold and exercise power, real and symbolic, as if she was a messiah.
Analysts say what these front-runners share is the fact that they are smart and savvy political operators and will certainly form coalitions even though now they are swearing that's out of the question.