Bulgaria moves towards sixth snap general election since 2021

Bulgaria moves towards sixth snap general election since 2021
Both the largest parties in the current Bulgarian parliament, Gerb and CC-DB, have returned their mandates to form a government. / Bulgarian parliament
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia March 27, 2024

Bulgaria will hold its sixth snap general election in a row, as on March 27 the second-largest formation in parliament – Change Continues-Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) – immediately returned the second mandate to form a government, and no other party except the far-right pro-Russian Vazrazhdane is ready to try to form a ruling coalition.

A day earlier, CC-DB made one last attempt to bring the Gerb party back to an agreement the two formations made nine months ago for a joint rotational government, but Gerb leader Boyko Borissov refused.

On March 27, outgoing Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov returned the mandate to President Rumen Radev, accusing Gerb, in coalition with its informal partner, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), of throwing the country into a fresh political crisis as Gerb had twice ended negotiations with CC-DB.

“What we can say is that the coalition Gerb-DPS wants elections. Also, reviewing the negotiation process we have no doubt that it has been carried out [by Gerb] pro forma with the clear idea that the country should go to elections,” Denkov said before returning the mandate to Radev.

Nine months ago, Gerb and CC-DB – until then fierce opponents – decided to set aside their differences and back a jointly formed government, comprising mainly non-political experts, to be headed for the first nine months by CC-DB’s Denkov and then for another nine months by Gerb’s Mariya Gabriel. The two were then supposed to switch their positions, but discussions between the two groups have been difficult.

When returning the mandate, Kiril Petkov, co-leader of CC, called on Radev to schedule the snap vote on the same day as the European Parliament election, which is expected to be held on June 9. However, Radev said it was too late for such a request. 

He blamed CC-DB for amending the constitution and thus making it impossible to delay scheduling the early election so it could be held at the same time as the European Parliament election. Several months earlier, Gerb, CC-DB and the DPS adopted changes to the constitution to pave the way for an in-depth reform of the judiciary, which limited the powers of the president.