Bulgarian Politics: What Happened in 2021
2021 began as 2020 ended. With the feeling of calm before the storm. The storming of Rosenets, the invasion of the presidency, the summer protests, the fight under the columns of the Council of Ministers, the raised fist of Rumen Radev, started irreversible political processes, as a result of which some people won and some lost.
What happened in the past year politically and who were the big winners?
Borissov's cabinet managed to hold on to its full term, aided not only by anti-government protests that subsided naturally over the winter months but also by COVID, which alternated between one crisis and another. The motto was "we are not irresponsible to throw the country into chaos, with a caretaker government and no parliament" and so Boyko Borissov for the first time since coming to power in 2009 completed a 4-year term.
And on April 4 we went to the regular elections for the National Assembly. And although GERB retained its first position with 26.18% of the vote (837,707 votes), the big winner of this vote was "There Is Such a People" (TISP), but not only - in the parliament with 4.72 percent entered the new protest party, a group of Maya Manolova, the Poison Trio and Tatiana Donchev - "Stand up! Mutri out!” (SUMO), while “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB) came close to the “Movement for Rights and Freedoms” (DPS) with its 9.45% (compared to 10.51% for the Movement).
But why was the big winner the party of Stanislav (Slavi) Trifonov - TISP? Because it was underestimated. Immediately before the vote, all major sociological agencies in Bulgaria assigned the second place to the Bulgarian Socialist Party with about 20-22 percent of the vote, while the polls reported that TISP will fight for third place on a par with DPS. But as we know, sociologists do not measure votes from abroad. So after the night of April 4, we woke up with "There Is Such a People" as the second political force - with 17.66% of the vote or 565,014 votes, and BSP remained third with 15.01 percent (480,146 votes) - or with at least 5% less than sociologists gave it.
Nobody wants the mandate
The vote determined the following configuration in parliament: GERB with 75 deputies, TISP - 51, BSP with 43, DPS - 30, DB - 27, SUMO - 14. Or if all had united, without GERB and the Movement, as was the original request, the majority it would consist of 135 MPs. But at the time, dividing lines were being drawn between potential partners, most notably the Socialists, and Trifonov's party initially seemed to be running in new elections, convinced of its better outcome.
Against this background, no one asked for the mandate. GERB returned it a few days after taking it due to a clear lack of support. TISP returned it the same day - on the grounds of insufficient votes in parliament. BSP did the same for the same reason.
The 45th parliament has done a single job - amending electoral legislation to unleash voting from abroad and a general machine vote.
The strategy worked
And so on July 11, we went to the polls again. There is Such a People’s strategy worked, and not just for them. This time, Trifonov's party came out as the first political force with 24.08% of the vote (657,829 votes), and GERB remained second, albeit narrowly - with 23.51% (642,165 votes).
DB made a leap - with already 12.64% of the vote, this time ahead of the Movement. Borisov's other opposition party, Stand Up! Mutri Out!, increased its result from the previous vote by a small margin, but still raised it to 5.01 percent.
Subsequent events are close to our memories. TISP, DB, BSP, and SUMO began negotiations to form a government, with some reluctant to join the Bulgarian Socialists, others collaborating between There Is Such a People and DPS, and Trifonov's party twice tried to force its own government project without prior consultation and with some controversial (mostly in terms of expertise) personalities, along with the candidate for Prime Minister. After SUMO and Democratic Bulgaria announced that they would not support the TISP cabinet, its vote never took place, although the mandate was taken and returned to the president.
The second term went to GERB, which only presented its draft government to the public without returning a folder with names to Radev. Then the left won the third term and after holding it for some time, also returned it unfulfilled - due to lack of support.
And we went to the third parliamentary elections, this time two in one - with those for president - on November 14.
If sociologists failed in their predictions about “There Is Such a People” for the April 4 vote due to a lack of data from abroad, they collapsed in November. "We Continue the Change" (WCC) was already on the horizon, campaigning and no matter how much its leader Kiril Petkov explained in TV studios that the formation has the potential to take 30 percent of the vote, citing its own statistics from the election rounds, until the end, the agencies gave the party a second or at least probably a third place.
Sociologists gave GERB about 23-25 percent of the vote, and then, according to them, the forces of BSP and WCC were equal - within the statistical error, about 16-18 percent. They also gave DB a lead over TISP and DPS, although again by about a percentage, albeit a smaller difference.
And the real picture was shown in the early afternoon of the election day, when in the exit polls a sociological agency began to report the lead of WCC over all others, including GERB. And Kiril Petkov's forecasts turned out to be the closest to reality. The new party received 25.67% of the vote (673,170 votes), compared to 22.74% for GERB. The left, previously measured as a second political force, collapsed to 10.21%, the mandate holder only a few months ago - TISP - to 9.52%, and Democratic Bulgaria even more - half of its result from the previous vote - 6.37%. The formation around Manolova dropped out of the National Assembly, but a new one came in - "Vazrazhdane". DPS’s result, mobilizing their electorate and the fact that they raised their leader as a presidential candidate, increased the percentage of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms
So, if we draw the line, We Continue the Change, There is Such a People, Democratic Bulgaria, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Stand Up! Mutri Out! and Vazrazhdane had their ups and downs in the election year 2021. GERB encapsulated itself in its core and never managed to surpass it. But the big winner is only one - "We Continue the Change" and for now it's like leading a parade alone.
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