Bulgaria holds a second snap election to end political instabilities

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarians head to the voting stations for the sixth quick parliamentary elections in three years on Sunday, but analysts believe there is little chance that it will produce a stable government capable of ending a long period of political uncertainty.

Bulgaria has had a series of revolving door governments ever since the 2020 anti-corruption protests helped to topple a centre-right GERB-led coalition.

Since 2020, Rumen Radev had to appoint 5 caretaker government to guide the Black Sea nation after successive inconclusive election results created unstable coalitions which quickly collapsed.

Bulgaria desperately needs a stable and well-functioning period of government in order to increase the flow of EU funding into its creaking, aging infrastructure. It also needs to be pushed towards the Euro and full participation in Europe’s Schengen open-border area.

The plans to join the Eurozone were already delayed twice due to missed inflation targets.

Bulgaria and its northern neighbor Romania removed passport checks for those departing or arriving to the Schengen Area – which includes most other EU members states – via air and sea on March 31, but rail and road travellers are still subjected to checks.

The main challenge in the Sunday elections, where Bulgarian voters also choose their representatives to the European Parliament, is apathy.

Many Bulgarians are deeply suspicious of the corrupt and inept political class that they now see. They do not think their votes will have any impact.

“I’ve decided to not vote… I have voted in the past, but I don’t feel like participating anymore.

DISTRUST

The collapse of a coalition in March, consisting of the reformist We Continue the Change party (PP), and the GERB which had been at the helm for most of the 15-year period prior, triggered Sunday’s elections.

In March, the two parties – both pro-EU, but divided by rivalries and mistrust based on personal differences – said they couldn’t form a government without new elections.

Alpha Research, a Sofia-based pollster, released a poll on Thursday showing GERB in the lead with 25,1% and PP at 15,4%. The ultranationalist pro Russian Revival party, which represents Bulgaria’s large Turkish ethnic minority, was viewed as getting 15.2% and Movement for Rights and Freedom on 14.8%.

In a close race, smaller parties such as the once-mighty Bulgarian Socialist Party or an alliance of conservative and agrarian parties known as Blue Bulgaria could have a significant impact on the composition of the new government.

Mario Bikarski is a Senior Eastern and Central Europe analyst at Verisk Maplecroft. He said that another snap election for the parliament was likely to take place in the fall.

He said that “even if a new government is formed, the current political factions will probably disagree and make it difficult for them to complete their term.”

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