Bulgarians Reject the Political Establishment

Democratic Security Monthly Foresight: April 2021

6 April 2021

Boyko Borisov’s prolonged influence on Bulgarian politics has been greatly diminished while vaccine procurement and distribution continue to plague the EU. Russian troops are building up along the eastern borders of Ukraine, but Poland becomes one of the first nations to accept Joe Biden’s invitation to the April Summit on Climate.

Main takeaways:

  • Bulgaria will likely have a new prime minister after the parliamentary elections
  • The EU’s shambolic COVID-19 response has led to an opaque vaccine nationalism with space for opportunists to exploit.
  • Slovakia at the nexus of several crises
  • Hungary and Poland are attempting to defy the European Court of Justice and delay the implementation of its ruling.
  • The future trajectory of regional mega-conglomerate PPF has been brought into question by the sudden death of its CEO and founder.
  • The Belarusian opposition is ramping up its pro-democracy demonstrations just as the government increases its suppressive capabilities.
  • Poland has accepted President Biden’s invitation to the 22 April Summit on Climate.
  • A shaky far-right alliance has the potential to be a serious force in the EU Parliament.
  • The build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border has dramatically increased tensions with promises of support to Kyiv coming from Washington D.C. and Brussels.

Bulgarian elections

The dramatic results from the 4 April elections have changed the political landscape in Bulgaria. While PM Boyko Borisov’s GERB party still came in first with 24 per cent of the vote (nine points down from the previous election) and their coalition partner seemingly unable to meet the 4 per cent threshold to enter parliament, Borisov’s ability to form a government looks unlikely.

The polls had indicated this trouble for the GERB party which will return some confidence to the beleaguered industry. However, the real surprise was that the populist There is Such a Party, led by former-rocker Slavi Trifonov, took second place with 19 per cent overcoming the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which had a horrible showing of only 14 per cent.

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