Analysis

A shock in Bulgaria

Andrea Peycheva analyses the results of European elections in Bulgaria.

With the official results of the European elections in Bulgaria announced, there were hardly any big surprises. The three most popular parties – GERB, BSP and DPS – won six, four and four mandates respectively. The Reformation Block won one, which could be considered a surprise, as the sociological researches prior to the elections “threw” them away from the next selection of the European Parliament.

After the official results were announced it became clear that Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (in Bulgarian the official abbreviation is GERB) had won the most votes, with 30%. This is a right-centered conservative political party established in 2006, at the initiative of the then mayor of Sofia, Boyko Borisov. On 6 July 2009, after winning the parliamentary elections, the party formed a government and Boyko Borisov became the new Prime Minister. Thanks to GERB’s victory, Bulgaria will be represented by a party that believes the country should keep implementing the values and policies of the European Union if it wants to develop in the right direction. On the other hand, this was the party which was removed from ruling in early 2013 by massive protests that started due to very high electricity bills.

Hoping to return; Boyko Borisov. Photo by Darldarl

Hoping to return; Boyko Borisov.
Photo by Darldarl

GERB is followed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 19%.  This is Bulgaria’s oldest party, which was renamed after the fall of communism in the early ‘90s. Before that it was “Communist”. This is the party which formed a government after GERB stepped down due to the protests, yet the protests did not stop for the next several months. In fact, there has been even bigger economic decline and decrease in foreign investments.

DPS scored third at this year’s European elections with a total of 17%.Thisis the so-called Movement for Rights and Freedoms (the official abbreviation in Bulgaria is DPS), a centrist political party that has the support mainly of ethnic Turkish and Muslim people living in Bulgaria. It was created in 1990. Their most infamous candidate, Delyan Peevski, has announced that he is giving up his seat to another candidate.

The most accurate predictions were given by Alfa Research. The results from many sociological researches before the election distributed to the media showed significant differences compared to the numbers after the end of the Election Day. This illustrates the lack of clarity as to how the respondents in the surveys were chosen – whether they were chosen to demonstrate objective and realistic results or in way that would make the percentages for BSP and GERB equal.

According to the latest Gallup International Survey for May conducted shortly before the elections, the two parties (GERB and BSP) had the exact same number of people who would vote for them – 18.3%, from all voters who took part in the survey. Results from April were also very close. If the elections took place in April, 20% would have voted for BSP and 21% for GERB. For more information, please visit: http://www.gallup-international.bg/en/Publications/78-2014/186-Electoral-Data-10-Days-before-the-Vote.

According to another very recent research by AFIS, conducted also shortly before the elections, 17.6% of voters would have voted for GERB, 17.9% for BSP, 6.7% for BBC (Bulgaria without Censorship) and 8.3% for DPS. (For further information, please visit: http://www.afis.bg/index_en.html ). In fact, the gap was significantly wider.

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