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.

Will Bulgaria Finally Separate the Wheat from the Chaff on Its Political Stage?

Earlier this month, I analyzed the deepening political crisis in Bulgaria in the context of the forthcoming parliamentary election in April 2023 for Res Publica, an academic blog edited by the Institute of Communication Studies of North Macedonia. In my commentary, I explain in details how an autocracy resists its dismantling and why an election spiral is not necessarily a bad thing given the circumstances. I republish my article “Bulgaria’s Deepening Political Crisis: An Opportunity to Separate the Wheat from the Chaff” with the permission of the editors:

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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.

The Shenanigans of the Konrad Adenauer and Hanns Seidel Political Foundations in Bulgaria

A scandal which erupted in Bulgaria today motivated me to tell you the story of the illegal activity of two German political foundations – the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Hanns Seidel Stiftung. In the concrete case which appalled me, the Konrad Adenauer political foundation commissioned an edition dedicated to Bulgarian politics in 2020, hired an editor who is a respected journalist and approved all authors and their topics. However, it refused to publish the edition in the end because it deemed that the articles written by experts were “against the government”.

Of course, this is an example of censorship, but this censorship is just the cherry in a toxic cocktail which Bulgaria has been drinking since 2006 when Boyko Borissov’s GERB party was created. Let me give you its recipe.

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Why Do EU Politicians Avoid Discussing Bulgaria’s Rampant Corruption and Lack of Rule of Law? Dissecting the Silence!

As a scholar with a research interest in the rule of law and as a Bulgarian citizen, I have been asking this question for a long time. For the sake of giving credit where credit is due, it is worth mentioning that the European Greens tried to raise concern about Bulgaria’s rampant corruption at the start of Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in January 2018 by publishing a critical report and by directly confronting Bulgaria’s Prime Minister on the matter at the European Parliament. However, they have progressively quieted down.

To be fair, the Greens are not in a position to do much either. Yet, what about the EPP, the Progressives or ALDE which is known for its motto “Values First”? These are the three largest groups at the European Parliament and all of them have members from Bulgaria.

At the end of August 2018, I carried out an improvised Twitter survey to see if my followers shared my worries (Figure 1). 36 people voted and 2 users who missed the deadline to cast their vote sent me separate comments, as we will see below.

So let’s see what the survey found?

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