COVID-19 in Autocratic Bulgaria

At the end of 2020, I was invited to write a country report on Bulgaria about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on democracy in the past year. The report is part of a project facilitated by Democracy Reporting International, Horizon-2020 RECONNECT, and the Verfassungsblog which focuses on more than 70 jurisdictions.

My conclusions are rather grim. I argue that “the elections on 4 April 2021 are of pivotal importance for Bulgaria’s rule of law” since “Borissov has built a framework for abusing the COVID-19 challenges for political benefits”. I also make that case that “if he remains in power, he will surely take advantage of [the framework he has built]”.

  • How and why did Borissov and his GERB party use the COVID-19 pandemic to solidify their autocracy?
  • How did Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court become instrumental in this regard by sanctioning a violation of the separation of powers?
  • How did the mass protests against Borissov’s government temporarily curtail the possible abuses?

You can read my full report here.