Elections 2009 - Parties
GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria)
GERB (acronym for Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) is a center-right Bulgarian political party. (The word "gerb" also means "a coat of arms" in Bulgarian.)
GERB was originally founded in the spring of 2006 as a civic movement. On December 3, 2006, it was formally transformed into a political party.
The founding of GERB has been inspired by Boyko Borisov, a popular Bulgarian politician who held the position of Chief Secretary of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry during the government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg (2001-2005), and was later elected Mayor of the Bulgarian capital Sofia (2005-present).
As the GERB party was formed after Borisov became Sofia Mayor, and a mayor was not allowed at that time to be formally a party chair, Borisov's close associate, Tzvetan Tzvetanov, has been elected as the formal GERB party Chair. Borisov has been referred as the informal leader of GERB ever since.
The Chair serves a three-year term as elected by the National Assembly of the party, which means that Tzvetanov's term is set to expire in December 2009.
Even though GERB has practically never participated in the national government of Bulgaria and has not been tested in practice, it has defined itself as a Christian Democratic/Conservative, i.e. a center-right/rightist party. It is supposed to be ideologically similar to the German Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria.
GERB is believed to be moderately nationalist, or patriotic, and its leaders, including Borisov, have engaged in anti-socialist and anti-communist rhetoric, condemning all political structures that ever had connections with the so called State Security services of the former Communist regime in Bulgaria, especially the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).
Permanent officers or collaborators from the former so called State Security and the former Intelligence Department of the Bulgarian People's Army from are prohibited from holding positions within the party leadership. According to its leaders, GERB is open for coalitions with the other center-right or rightist parties, and is under no circumstances going to form a coalition with the BSP or the DPS.
GERB's social base is supposed to be the middle and upper middle class in Bulgaria, and primarily residents of the larger Bulgarian cities, i.e. the 27 Bulgarian district capitals, including the national capital Sofia.
Elections Record and Government Participation
GERB has never participated in general Parliamentary Elections in Bulgaria. However, it took part in the first ever Bulgarian elections for Members of the European Parliament in April 2007. GERB won the greatest number of votes - 21,69%, and got 5 MEPs out of a total of 18 Bulgarian MEPs. The Bulgarian Socialist Party was a very close second with 21,41% and also 5 MEPs, and the ethnic Turkish DPS party got 20,26% and 4 MEPS (DPS's result is believed to be unusually high thanks to the very low voter turnout.).
During the October 2007 Local Elections, the GERB party again attracted the largest number of votes by winning 11 out of a total of 27 district capitals' mayors. Its lead before the BSP, however, was not decisive again.
International Political Affiliations
Member of the European People's Party. GERB formally applied to join on June 6, 2007, and became an EPP member on February 7, 2008.
Member of the Parliamentary Group of the European People's Party/European Democrats - EPP-ED in the European Parliament.