Bulgarian Parliamentary Elections: GERB Party Leads with 23.6% of Vote

The Turkish ethnic minority party comes in second place

On Sunday, June 9, Bulgaria held elections not only for the European Parliament, but also for the national parliament, for the sixth time in the last three years. At this point, about 70% of the ballots have been counted. The center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party, led by Boyko Borisov, who almost continuously headed the country’s government from 2009 to 2021, is firmly in the lead with 23.7% of the vote. In second place with 16% of the vote is the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party, popular among Bulgaria’s Turkish minority. Right behind, with almost 15%, is the reformist bloc of the Continuing Change party and the Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB) coalition, led by another former Bulgarian prime minister, Kiril Petkov. At the moment, the far-right Renaissance party has 14.33%, while current President Rumen Radev’s Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has 6.87%.

Bulgaria, a former socialist country, a member of the Warsaw Pact Organization and one of the closest allies of the Soviet Union, has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 2007. Politically, Bulgaria is extremely fragmented. Sunday’s election was called after Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov resigned in March, leading to the collapse of the government coalition comprising GERB and the PP-DB bloc. According to media reports, GERB is also in the lead in the European elections. However, “in all likelihood, Sunday’s vote will not end political instability in Bulgaria. In order to form the government, the GERB party will have to be imaginative again to reach an agreement with one or more rival parties.”