Without government, Bulgaria returns to the polls

For the third time since the beginning of April, Bulgarians are preparing to return to the polls for parliamentary elections. On Tuesday, September 7, President Roumen Radev announced that the country “Was going to face new elections” after another failure of the parties represented in Parliament to form a government. While they have already voted on April 4 and July 11, Bulgarian voters will most likely have to elect their parliament again on November 14, at the same time as the presidential election.

Led since May by an interim government, Bulgaria, known as the poorest and most corrupt country in the European Union, is going through a political crisis unprecedented since the end of communism in 1990. After more than ten years in power. Almost continuously, the conservative Boyko Borissov was initially unable to reform a government after suffering a serious setback on April 4, then suffered an even greater defeat on July 11.

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At 62 years old, the former cop with the stature of a mirror cabinet was particularly affected by the long anti-corruption protest movement which shook Bulgaria in the summer of 2020. But, if the Bulgarians obviously want to turn the page of three mandates marked by a succession of scandals – including the publication of photos showing Mr. Borissov sleeping next to a pistol and bundles of 500 euro banknotes – the political parties that took advantage of this fed up are they , unable to get along.

“Quite painful transition”

“Bulgaria is going through a rather painful transition of its partisan system, analysis Daniel Smilov, political scientist at the University of Sofia. Bulgarians no longer trust their old parties, but the new ones that are emerging are seriously lacking in experience, or even showing incompetence. “

The criticism concerns in particular the anti-corruption populist party “There is such a people” of singer and TV presenter Stanislav Trifonov, a national star that all Bulgarians simply call “Slavi”. After securing 17% of the vote in April, Slavi, who claims to be “Pro-European” while sending anti-tax messages, came first in the July poll with 24% of the vote.

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Building on this success, the singer, who campaigned almost exclusively on Facebook, tried to impose a government of his choice, without entering into serious consultations with the other forces represented in Parliament. If he did not claim the post of head of government for him, probably because of his fragile health, he successively tried to impose a champion of failure, an economist who was a minister in the early 2000s, then a businessman known only to be an employee of a swimming equipment company. Each time, these candidatures had to be withdrawn after controversy over their profile and for lack of consensus with the other political forces who want to turn the page Borissov, such as the centrist party democratic Bulgaria.

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