In the general election of June 25, 2005, Stanishev was re-elected to the National Assembly, this time for a seat in Burgas. Under his leadership the Coalition for Bulgaria (a coalition dominated by the BSP) won 31% of the votes. Stanishev said that the next government "should be led by the party which won most votes in the elections." On 20 July, after nearly a month of political uncertainty, Stanishev agreed to attempt to form a Cabinet. On July 27, 2005 the Bulgarian Parliament chose him as the new Prime Minister in a coalition government, led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and National Movement Simeon II in a partnership with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The vote was 120 to 119. However, the parliament voted against Stanishev's proposed Cabinet by 119 to 117 votes.
This was followed by another two weeks of political deadlock. Finally on August 15 Stanishev was able to form a three-party grand coalition with the party of outgoing Prime Minister Simeon Sakskoburggotski and with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, a Turkish minority party. Stanishev said the coalition's priorities would be "European integration, social responsibility and economic growth." He was elected Prime Minister by the Bulgarian parliament on August 16 with 168 in favour and 67 against. On August 17, 2005, with an official ceremony on 1 Dondukov Boulevard, Sergei Stanishev took office as Prime Minister.
Sergei Stanishev is an avid pro-EU politician who is credited with reforming Bulgaria to the extent that he managed to steer his country to be among the last group of countries which joined the EU. The ex-Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev had said Bulgaria's EU entrance was the final fall of the Berlin Wall for his nation. EU President Jose' Manuel Barroso had hailed Bulgarian Prime Minister Stanishev for having made enough progress for Bulgaria to join the union.
The European Commission's report on Bulgaria and Romania's accession had confirmed that after seven years of talks, Bulgaria and Romania were able to take on the rights and obligations of EU membership. Reading the report, Mr Barroso said the two nations' entry would be a "historic achievement".
"Bulgaria and Romania have carried out an extraordinary reform process and they have gone through a remarkable transformation," he said.
In June 2008 Stanishev drew criticism from human rights advocates for his remarks regarding Bulgaria's first gay pride parade; the Prime Minister said he did not approve of "the manifestation and demonstration of such orientations."
Also in June 2008 The Guardian published an article highly critical of planned real estate development in a pristine seacoast area under EU environmental protection. Sergei Stanishev's brother, Georgi Stanishev, is the Bulgarian partner of Foster and Partners, the developer behind the controversial project.
In March 2009, New Europe published the heading 'Barroso backs Stanishev'. Stanishev received the full support of European Commissions President Jose Manuel Barroso, concerning the improvement of the cooperation with the European Commission and the enhancement of the administrative capacity. Prime Minister Stanishev was on a working visit to Brussels and met with President Barroso, as well as European Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia.
Later in June 2009, Sergei Stanishev supported Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as EU Commission President.
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