Bulgaria heads for election for 6th time in 3 years

Only nine months lasted for the rest of her political scene and the scene is repeated: Unable to agree on political parties and new early parliamentary elections on the horizon. Bulgaria is thus heading for the sixth parliamentary elections in the last 3 years. The two largest political forces left aside their differences in June 2023 to form a pro-European government amid the war in Ukraine. However, the alliance did not last long. Theoretically, Foreign Minister Marija Gabriel was to succeed Nikolay Denkov in the Prime Minister’s position, on the basis of a country’s rotating leadership agreement. But nothing went on schedule and both camps blamed each other for political chaos. The two pro-Western alliances of the GERB and the Democratic Forces Association (GERB-SDS) and we continue the Change-Republican Bulgaria (PP-DB) were unable to agree on the continuation of the coalition formed in June 2023 due to disagreements over staff and reforms. Faced with disagreements and efferviousness, the former European Commissioner threw a white towel last week. The former liberal partners left in turn on Wednesday, clearing the way for another electoral process, possibly taking place the same day or shortly after the European elections on 9 June. Today Saturday (30.03.2024), Bulgarian President Rumen Radev instructed the head of the Court of Auditors, Dimitar Glavchev, to set up a transitional government to organise early elections. In front of political tensions in Bulgaria, Glavchev allegedly wants to form a temporary cabinet of “politically independent experts”. “We are the world champions in the election event,” says political scientist Theodor Slaven, as the Balkan country is going through an unprecedented crisis since the fall of communism in 1989. A situation that does not displease the Kremlin, according to Slaven. In this country, for many years in the Soviet sphere of influence, of strategic importance because of its position at the edge of the Black Sea, “the Russian influence remains strong and Moscow wants instability,” he explains to the French Agency. Pro-Russian parties can exploit political unrest to widen their electoral rates. The old guard present and active to maintain the status quo At the heart of this new act in political saga, former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who dominated political life for a decade before resigning after a wave of anti-corruption protests in the summer of 2020. Although he cannot return to power, Borisov continues to pull the strings as the boss of the still strong conservative GERB party, analysts say. According to Market Links Institute director Dobromir Zinkov, Borisov, a large man with a shaved head, a former bodyguard, this time exerts pressure to gain key positions for his followers and “block the reforms” initiated by the government, particularly in justice and information services. Among the challenges, the choice of the new attorney general, Borisov’s goal: to maintain the “status kvo”, in collaboration with MP Delian Peevsky, a former media mogul targeted by American and British corruption sanctions. In the opposite camp, the party’s reformers “We Continue Change”, founded by 40-year-old entrepreneurs trained at Harvard, failed to maintain the momentum that had temporarily brought them to power in 2022. The protests four years ago awakened hopes of a change, but “no revolution” took place. “Society limited to slow and painful changes while political elites renewed”. Meanwhile, Bulgarians continue to migrate to the west due to a lack of prospects in their country, the poorest in the EU and the hopes of those who remain disappointed. Political unrest could further delay full integration into Schengen, a wait that has lasted for 13 years. On Sunday, access will be limited to air and sea routes, with road transport – although most affected by border controls – not affected. Another frustrated ambition for the country… that of entering the eurozone by 2025, a goal that is now unrealistic.