- Borislav Ivanov
4th Parliamentary Elections in Bulgaria in less than 2 Years - GERB Has Won, New Elections in Februa
Bulgarians went to the polls once again, for the fourth time in a year and a half. These elections were characterized by severe voter fatigue, concerns over inflation, the war next door, Russian influence, and internal stability.
Boyko Borisov’s GERB party is once again the primary political force in the country, with around 24.6% of the votes. GERB, and more specifically Borisov’s reputation, is highly mixed – it’s characterized both by European integration, rising wages, and infrastructural construction and by rampant corruption, severe brain drain, and polarization.
Following GERB, second place was won by Kiril Petkov’s and Assen Vassilev’s “We Continue the Change” party, with 20.21% of the vote. During the last election cycle, they became Bulgaria’s primary political power, successfully forming a governing coalition of 4 highly different parties. The coalition was characterized by numerous achievements but also severe polarization and an inability to fulfill a large percentage of its agenda. Extensive propaganda campaigns orchestrated by GERB, far-right parties, and Russia were also used to bring them down.
In third place is the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), led by Mustafa Karadayı, with a surprising 14% of the vote. Also known as the Turkish party, it’s a primarily ethnic Turkish and Muslim political party, widely known for corruption, and is believed to be under the partial control of Ankara.
In fourth place is the far right, ultranationalist, Euroskeptic, and very pro-Russian party Vazrazhdane (Revival). This party came to prominence during anti-COVID protests, and it utilized incredible propaganda campaigns and conspiracy theory-fuelled rhetoric to climb up the ranks slowly. Its leader Kostadin Kostadinov, also known as Kopeikin (the smallest monetary unit in Russia), due to speculations that the Kremlin pays his salary, insisted that his party would win these elections by a landslide. This, of course, didn’t happen.
In fifth place is the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), led by Cornelia Ninova, which held a consistent 20% of the votes not too long ago. Now, they got just 9.32%. As the successor of the Bulgarian Communist Party, their reputation, especially amongst younger and more pro-European people, is mainly negative.
In sixth place is the pro-Western, and pro-EU, center-right leaning Democratic Bulgaria, led by Hristo Ivanov. Similarly to the previous elections, they scored around 8% of the vote.
In seventh place, and last on the list of parties that crossed the coveted 4% barrier to get into parliament, is the national conservative pro-Russian Bulgarian Rise party, led by Stefan Yanev.
So far, it looks like ITN, or “There is Such a People,” led by singer and late-night talk show host Slavi Trifonov, has not crossed the 4% barrier. ITN and Trifonov were the primary reason why the previous governing coalition crumbled.
In conclusion, the results show that the chance of some of these parties uniting and forming a governing coalition for the sake of having a stable government and addressing critical issues (such as high inflation rates, corruption, the war in Ukraine, tackling brain drain, aiding and integrating refugees, and tackling Russian meddling) is exceedingly small. In the end, we might see a fifth election cycle next February, which might also yield no constructive results.