Bulgaria’s Election Spiral: Scratching Beneath the Surface

Where is Bulgaria headed after the fifth parliamentary election in the span of two years? My latest piece for New Eastern Europe titled “Bulgaria’s election spiral: the anatomy of disappointment” explains why the current political crisis can only be overcome if its roots are properly understood and addressed. In a country like Bulgaria, where appearances may often be deceiving, however, identifying these causes is not a straightforward task.

  • What does Boyko Borissov have to lose if his party is not part of government?
  • What strategies has Bulgaria’s status quo employed to sabotage the formation of a stable regular government in the past two years?
  • Who are the “poisonous lookalikes” on the Bulgarian political stage and what are they used for?
  • Why did President Rumen Radev drastically alter his views on the rule of law and Borissov?
  • How can we explain the rise of the pro-Russian “Revival” and to what extent is the threat to Euro-Atlanticism in Bulgaria real?
  • What do the latest voting patterns tell us?

You can read my full article here.

Quo vadis Bulgaria?

In my latest piece for New Eastern Europe titled “After yet another election, where are you heading Bulgaria?”, I discuss why Bulgaria has entered a seemingly never-ending cycle of parliamentary elections.

Regrettably, Bulgaria’s status quo forces rely on a panoply of Trojan horses to sabotage anti-corruption reforms and save actors implicated in corruption from accountability. The latest disappointment is President Rumen Radev who seems to be collaborating with the parties accused of corruption – namely, GERB and DPS – behind the scenes. I conclude that “[if] a regular government is formed this time, its goal will not be to protect the future of Bulgaria, but to ensure the impunity of Borissov and the key players in his autocracy”.

Elections and Drama

In my latest article for New Eastern Europe published shortly after the parliamentary elections which took place on April 4th, 2021, I discuss the importance of these specific elections, the likely scenarios, and the reluctance with which Boyko Borissov will eventually transfer power.

Even before the Parliament was convened, I argued: “In parallel, the opposition is fragmented, so while preferable, they may not be able to form a government either. This means that the most likely scenario is a caretaker government and new parliamentary elections this year.” I also contended: “The future may be uncertain at this stage, but the election results are actually a massive victory for Bulgaria’s civil society.”

You can read the full text of my article ‘Dramatic parliamentary elections in Bulgaria: will Borissov transfer power peacefully?’ here.

Parliamentary Elections in Bulgaria

On 4 April 2021 or in 4 days, Bulgarian citizens will vote for a new Parliament. Unusual elections, considering Bulgarians have been protesting against Boyko Borissov’s government for 8 months and Borissov did everything possible to avoid early elections, which means these are the first parliamentary elections organized by a government led by Boyko Borissov. I have written an article for Res Publica about the incredibly high stakes which was published earlier today. I republish it here with the permission of the editors.

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European Elections 2019 in Bulgaria

How did European elections 2019 go in Bulgaria? I was honored to be interviewed by New Eastern Europe for their podcast “Talk Eastern Europe.” You can listen to episode 13 dedicated to #Euroelections2019 in Poland, Lithuania, and Bulgaria, which features my contribution, here. If you believe you know everything about Bulgaria, I encourage you to listen anyway because there are valuable comments on Poland and Lithuania.

In retrospect, as I was interviewed shortly after the elections, we did not discuss election manipulations in much detail. If this is a topic which is of interest, you can take a look at my article “8 Worrisome Charts on the Grim State of Bulgaria’s Rule of Law.” The methods and the lies continue to be the same.