Upcoming Elections Are Unlikely to Overcome the Crisis in Bulgaria

The Country Is Urged to Improve its Image

24 March 2021

Asya Metodieva

Visegrad Insight Fellow

After a Bulgarian summer marked by protests, it is time to vote in early April. However, a change in the political establishment is unlikely if the turnout of the 2021 parliamentary elections is low and the EU does not put more pressure on the country. Otherwise, more protests cannot be excluded.

Bulgaria is holding a parliamentary election in early April. The vote comes after the 2020 mass anti-government demonstrations, a year in which many believed that Bulgaria’s oligarchic system would start to dismantle. Last summer, thousands of Bulgarians rallied on the streets of Sofia, being discontented with systematic corruption.

The protest was a déjà vu for those who marched for months in 2013 against the controversial appointment of a notorious oligarch to be the head of the State Agency for National Security. Seven years later, people’s demands remained the same: the rule of law and the fight against corruption.

The Bulgarian summer of 2020 was a quest for democracy triggered by a series of scandals that magnified the distrust in the political elite and system. It led to an institutional crisis in which President Rumen Radev called for the government’s resignation and the state prosecutor.

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Asya Metodieva

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Asya Metodieva is a researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague. She successfully defended her PhD at the Central European University (CEU), Vienna. Her research focuses on radical movements, polarization and information warfare with a focus on the Balkans and more generally Southeast Europe. She holds an MA in Public Policy from CEU and in International Relations and Security Studies from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. In 2019 she was a visiting PhD Candidate at the University of Oxford. She held the 2018 Sotirov Fellowship at LSE IDEAS and 2018 Re-think CEE Fellowship of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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