Parliamentary elections to be held in Bulgaria

Bulgarians will head to the polls today to vote in a general election. The vote follows months of anti-government protests,

Bulgarian Parliament

Photo: Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Bulgarians will head to the polls today to vote in a general election.

The vote follows months of anti-government protests, stalled political reforms and a surge in COVID-19 cases. Bulgaria’s Western partners have criticised the government for its failure to address long-standing problems pertaining to corruption and deficiencies in rule of law and media freedom. Failure to address these concerns, combined with COVID-19-induced lockdowns, has also adversely affected employment and economic growth.

Despite these difficulties, expect Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and his governing centre-right GERB party to remain in power. The PM’s party leads the Socialist Party-led opposition bloc in most opinion polls by about five percentage points. Moreover, an expected low turnout due to virus concerns is likely to serve as a boon for Borissov despite widespread discontent.

In the medium-to-long-term, continued failure to control COVID-19 and address demonstrator concerns will not bear well for Borissov and his party. The fragmented parliament likely to result from today’s vote will signal a power struggle to come, as voters begin to reject GERB anti-corruption and economic recovery policies that have yet to produce tangible reforms.

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