Bulgaria to have its fourth election in less than two years

Bulgaria to have its fourth election in less than two years
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Bulgarian citizens are going to the polls as the country has the fourth election in 18 months following a political turmoil

Bulgaria is having its fourth election in less than two years on Sunday. Embroiled in political turmoil, the Balkan country is having snap elections.

Bulgaria, which joined the European Union in 2007 alongside Romania enjoyed relative stability until two years ago. The country was rocked by anti-government protests in the summer of 2020 when the government of Boyko Borissov was accused of corruption and democratic backsliding.

Although Borissov’s party, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), won the elections in April 2021, he was unable to form a government.

This was followed by a snap election in July 2021 resulting in the victory of There Is Such a People (ITN) party, founded by a TV host and musician Slavi Trifonov.

Three months later, Bulgaria again went to polls as the ITN was also unable to form a government. A new party, We Continue the Change (PP), won the elections and formed a government with ITN and several other parties.

Six months later, ITN pulled out of the government because of disagreements over budget, progress in tackling corruption, and EU accession talks of North Macedonia. ITN accused PP of attempting to lift Bulgaria’s veto and disregarding Bulgaria’s national interests.

A sociologist from a polling agency, Dimitar Ganev, said that the war in Ukraine caused a new cleavage in Bulgarian politics. "It's between those who take a pro-Euro, pro-Atlantic position and those who have a softer stance towards Russia's actions," he said, adding: "Some of the political parties exploit the traditionally favorable attitude of Bulgarians towards Russia and seek to gather new voters."

GERB currently polls as the biggest party with an estimated support of 26%, and is likely to be followed by PP with 18%, and DPS, representing the country’s Muslim and Turkish minorities, with 12%.

The pro-Russian Vazrajdane (Revival) Party, recently polling as the fifth party, is expected to do well.

In Turkey, 300 thousand Bulgarian electorates will vote in 166 polling stations established in 22 provinces.