Boïko Borissov succeeds in winning the general elections easily and will be the next Bulgarian Prime Minister.


Corinne Deloy,  

Fondation Robert Schuman,  

Helen Levy


6 July 2009

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Deloy Corinne

Corinne Deloy

Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).

Robert Schuman Fondation

Fondation Robert Schuman

Levy Helen

Helen Levy

As previously indicated in the polls the Citizens' Party for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) led by the Mayor of Sofia Boïko Borissov made a landslide victory in the general elections that took place on 5th July. The GERB won 39.70% of the vote and 116 seats in the National Assembly, the only Chamber in the Bulgarian Parliament. The Socialist Party (PSB) led by outgoing Prime Minister Serguey Stanishev suffered a heavy defeat winning 17.72% of the vote and 40 seats (-42 in comparison with the previous general election on 25th June 2005). Its outgoing government partner, the Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) which represents the country's Turkish minority won 14.47% of the vote (38 seats, +4). It is ahead of the far right party Ataka, that won 9.37% of the vote (21 seats, an identical number to that achieved in 2005), the Blue Coalition formed of the alliance between the Union of Democratic Forces, (ODS) and the Democrats for A Strong Bulgaria (DSB) which won 6,73% of the vote (15 seats) and the Party for Order, Law and Justice (RZS) which won 4.13% (0 seats).

The National Movement for Stability and Progress (MNSP) of former King Simeon II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, a member of the outgoing government that won 53 seats in 2005 did not succeed in rising above the 4% of the vote necessary to be represented in Parliament. Simeon II delivered his resignation as head of the party on 6th July "I assume total responsibility by resigning as leader of the party" he declared.

Turn out rose to 59.76% of the vote i.e. +3 points in comparison with the previous election on 25th June 2005.

"We must form a government as quickly as possible," declared the Mayor of Sofia Boïko Borissov on TV channel bTV after the announcement of the first results. "I am worried about the enormous budgetary deficit we have and the total collapse of the country that has occurred because of Socialist Prime Minister Serguey Stanishev. Considering the heritage that is ours I cannot promise to work miracles within the next five to sixth months," he added. When asked about his personal future and his desire to take the lead of the government Boïko Borissov said "Any other response (than the acceptance on my part of becoming Prime Minister) with this election result would mean that I do not shoulder responsibility in a time which is the most difficult for Bulgaria."

GERB chairman Tsvetan Tsvetanov said he supported the alliance of the Blue Coalition "I do not believe that the GERB will have more than one government partner (...) and it will be our EPP partner." The Blue Coalition is therefore favourite to enter government. "It is a clear victory for the right wing. It is the grand return of the right and a significant sanction vote for the outgoing coalition," said party spokesperson Petar Moskov. The Blue Coalition said it was open to an alliance with the GERB. By joining forces with the Blue Coalition, also a member of the European People's Party (EPP) with 15 seats, the GERB will enjoy an adequate majority to form a government coalition.

Ataka and the Party for Order, Law and Justice have also said they are prepared to support a government led by Boïko Borissov who for his part has repeated that he refused to govern with the Movement for Rights and Freedom.

"Those who have stolen should be scared," said Boïko Borissov who made the fight against corruption and organized crime one of the main elements of his electoral campaign. Bulgaria was called to order by the European Commission in July 2008 when it froze the grant of 220 million € to the country and suspended a loan of 500 million € because of fraud within the "Road Infrastructure" funds. The European Union is also accusing the country of delaying the implementation of the reform of its legal system. In June, as part of the European ISPA programme, Brussels accepted the release of 115 million € that are due to be devoted to the construction and renovation of 10,000 km of roads.

"If we want to continue to suffer sanctions then vote for the outgoing coalition on Sunday. Vote for us (the GERB) and you will receive Europe's solidarity," stressed Boïko Borissov during the electoral campaign. The Bulgarians, who are suffering the economic crisis full on, also condemned the inefficacy of Serguey Stanishev's government as they voted on Sunday in terms of its fight against corruption.

"The support of the future government will depend on its ability to fight corruption and to punish those who have abused their power," said political analyst Ivan Krastev, director of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia.

For the first time since the 1990's missions on the part of the Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe were present in Bulgaria to monitor the election. Accusations of electoral fraud are frequent in the country.

Boïko Borissov aged 50 and from Bankya (a suburb of Sofia) started his professional career as a fireman. After having worked for the Home Office he founded his own company "Ippon" at the beginning of the 1990's. At first specialized in the textile trade it then turned to the security sector. Boïko Borissov worked as a bodyguard for the former leader of Communist Bulgaria (1971-1989), Todor Jivkov, then for King Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha when he returned from exile in 1996. When the latter took office as Prime Minister in 2001 he became chief secretary to the Home Minister i.e. head of the national police. Elected MP during the general elections on 25th June 2005 he chose not sit in Parliament and on 8th November 2005 he won the town hall of Sofia during a by-election. On 3rd December 2006 Boïko Borissov founded the GERB which the following year became the country's leading opposition party.

A keen sportsman (he was trainer of the Bulgarian karate team) Boïko Borissov, aka Batman for his courage and application in his work built his popularity on his work as head of the national police and his populist approach to crime, the government's inertia and the ineffective nature of the legal system.

The new Bulgarian parliament will take office on 14th July next.

Source : Central Electoral Commission of Bulgaria

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