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Is a Stable Government Possible in Bulgaria?

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After Slavi Trifonov, Chairman of the Party of There is Such a People in Bulgaria (ITN), announced that they were withdrawing from the coalition on 8 June 2022, the government under the Prime Minister Kirill Petkov fell from power on 27 June 2022 and the negotiations for the formation of the new government could not yield results, President Rumen Radev, he has announced that early general elections will be held on October 2, 2022.

In the process, in the early general elections held on October 2, 2022, in Bulgaria, which was governed by the interim government with Galab Donev, who is known as pro-Russian, as Prime Minister, seven parties passed the 4% threshold and were entitled to enter the 240-seat parliament.

In the elections, ex-Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s party, “Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB)”, took the first place with 25.37% of the votes. On the other hand, the We Continue the Change Party (PP), which ruled the country for six months as the leader of the coalition government established after the last early general election, finished the race in second place by receiving 19.9% ​​of the votes. Movements for Rights and Freedom (DPS) came in third with 13.66% of the votes.

In Bulgaria, where elections were held four times in eighteen months, the lowest voter turnout of the last thirty-two years was realized with a rate of 37%. There is serious uncertainty about how the new government will be formed in Bulgaria. The fact that the people who are tired of going to the ballot box make different choices in the elections and the decrease in participation makes it difficult to achieve political stability.

Looking at the election results, it is seen that none of the political parties achieved a supremacy over others. However, it can be said that ideological differences also make the established governments fragile. Because the sharp differences of opinion between the parties make coalition talks unpredictable.

After his party finished first in the election, Borisov; The Prime Minister called for negotiations, stating that he did not want to be a Minister or a deputy and that about 80% of Bulgarians wanted to see a stable government rather than a new election. Emphasizing that the most important issue in this process is to determine who support and who did not support the Kyiv administration in the Russia-Ukraine War. Borisov said, “let this be the first issue where we clearly stated our stance.”[1] He drew the general framework for his own expectations. Borisov said that other issues that potential coalition partners should agree on are inflation, energy costs, joining the Eurozone and becoming a part of the Schengen area.[2]

On the other hand, the fact that Vazrazhdane (Revival Party), Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Bulgarian Rise Party (BV) are among the seven parties entering the parliament in the country is in response to this statement of Borisov. For this reason, it is not expected that the We Continue to Change Party, Vazrazhdane, BSP and BV will support the possible government to be formed under the leadership of GERB.

Borisov is aware that negotiations for the formation of the government will not be easy. Because, in the statement he made on October 5, 2022, he emphasized that the new government would be Euro-Atlantic oriented, implying that he did not particularly like to work with pro-Russian parties.[3] For this reason, it can be said that Borisov will try to come together with parties that are not pro-Russian for his country, which is a member of the European Union (EU).

Considering the issues mentioned above, it can be said that the negotiation process regarding the formation of the government will be long and difficult. Therefore, it is unclear with which parties GERB will form a coalition and how sustainable this will be. The country is already dealing with many issued including energy crisis, economic problems and North Macedonia issue. This highlights the differences between the parties.

If GERB fails to secure a sufficient parliamentary majority to form a government, it is expected that Petkov, the leader of the We Continue to Change Party, which emerged as the second party from the elections, will receive the task of forming the government. If a government cannot be formed in this case, it is likely that President Radev, who is claimed to be close to Russia, will act as a mediator in the attempt to form a government. Considering that the West, especially the EU, will react to this, it can be claimed that the country may hold elections for the fifth time.

As a result, it was seen that no party could gain a strong advantage in the elections held in Bulgaria. This makes reconciliation difficult. As a matter of fact, it seems difficult to come up with a reasonable picture in coalition scenarios. This means that the country may go to re-election. Moreover, even if a coalition government is formed, it can be said that a fragile political atmosphere will emerge due to the differences of opinion between the parties.


[1] “Eski Bulgaristan Başbakanı Borisov, Muhalefete Koalisyon Teklif Etti”, TRT Haber, https://www.trthaber.com/haber/dunya/eski-bulgaristan-basbakani-borisov-muhalefete-koalisyon-teklif-etti-713482.html, (Date of Acession: 05.10.2022).

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Bulgaria’s Borrisov Languishes in Post-Election Limbo”, Euractiv, https://www.euractiv.com/section/all/short_news/bulgarias-borrisov-languishes-in-post-election-limbo/, (Date of Acession: 05.10.2022).

Sibel MAZREK
Sibel MAZREK
Lisans eğitimini Gazi Üniversitesi İletişim Fakültesi'nde tamamlayan Sibel Mazrek, yüksek lisans eğitimine Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Lisansüstü Eğitim Enstitüsü'nde Gazetecilik Ana Bilim Dalı'nda devam etmektedir. Çeşitli medya kuruluşlarında muhabirlik, spikerlik sunuculuk görevlerini üstlenen Mazrek, ANKASAM'da Medya Koordinatörü olarak çalışmalarına devam etmektedir.