In Bulgaria, Sunday’s parliamentary elections were won by former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s center-right party, Bulgarian Citizens for European Development (GERB, center-right). It obtained 25.3 per cent of the vote, against 20.2 per cent for the progressive party We continue the change, with a progressive orientation. The government post will therefore most likely be given to Borisov, who, however, could have great difficulty in finding a majority.
Boyko Borisov, 63, was prime minister from 2014 to 2021 but his public image was severely compromised by allegations of corruption, connivance with organized crime and racism, among other things. Precisely for this reason it is very difficult for him to be able to find the support of other parties in parliament to form a governing majority: before the elections no party had said it was willing to govern with him, and things will hardly change now.
Before Sunday the vote was already taken in April, July and November of 2021. The last elected government was the one expressed in the elections of November 2021: the winner was “We continue the change” (PP), a pro-European and liberal party which had been formed only a few months earlier and which was led by Kiril Petkov, a Harvard graduate economist who had promised to rid Bulgaria of the enormous corruption problems that had characterized the governments of the past years.
Petkov became prime minister and formed a coalition government that adopted a strong pro-European and Western policy: among other things, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bulgaria refused to pay for Russian gas in rubles, and in April 2022 it was one of the first European countries to suffer a complete interruption of supplies. But in June 2022, the Petkov government fell due to internal disagreements within its shaky coalition, and at that point President Rumen Radev, who had appointed a new interim government, intervened.
Radev, considered very close to Russia, had appointed as prime minister Galab Donev, who was formally an independent but who had in fact renounced all of Petkov’s pro-European policies and had tried to bring Bulgaria closer to Russia. Now the most likely hypothesis is that Borisov will try to form a minority government, but it is also possible that Radev will again appoint an interim government to go to new elections in the spring of 2023.