Bulgaria’s Fractured Politics Marks the End of the Borissov Era

Bulgaria’s Fractured Politics Marks the End of the Borissov Era
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Dec. 10, 2020 (pool photo by John Thys via AP).

As a European Union and NATO member that borders Turkey, hugs the Black Sea coast and maintains cordial relations with Russia, Bulgaria is a strategically significant country. Yet in recent years, it has rarely made international news—except for the occasional domestic clash over Russian influence and periodic mass protests over corruption and state capture.

The latest such uprising may have finally forced the departure from high-level politics of Boyko Borissov, who has served three nonconsecutive terms as prime minister since 2009 and was a mainstay of the Bulgarian political scene before that. His center-right populist Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria party, known as GERB, won the most votes in elections in early April, as it has in every one of the nine parliamentary and European Parliament votes Bulgaria has held since 2007.

Yet the recent polls also produced one of the more fragmented parliaments in recent memory, as traditional parties lost ground to political newcomers. GERB took just over 26 percent of the vote, giving it only 75 of the 240 seats in the unicameral National Assembly—its worst parliamentary election performance in the party’s history. The runner-up was pop singer and TV host Slavi Trifonov’s newly established ITN party, which campaigned on an anti-corruption, anti-establishment platform, taking 17.7 percent of the vote. GERB’s rival, the once-powerful Bulgarian Socialist Party, or BSP, finished third with just 15 percent, losing almost half its seats.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review