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Bulgarian politics is in a period of significant instability following legislative elections on Sunday 4 April that left no clear routes to a majority governing coalition on the table.

  • The two largest parties in the previous parliament, the centre-right GERB of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, and the centre-left Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSPzB) both lost significant numbers of seats amidst a rise in support for new anti-corruption parties (see chart below)
Chart 1. Bulgarian National Assembly after April 2021 Election, Seats

  • GERB's former coalition allies, the right-wing nationalist VMRO-Bulgarian National Movement did not cross the 4% electoral threshold, meaning Borisov's party could find itself short of potential coalition partners.
  • The Socialists are likely to prove key in the formation of any gov't. GERB may be able to gain the support of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), which represents Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish minority. However, this potential coalition would require the support of the Socialists to gain majority support in parliament.
  • The other possibility is for the centrist, anti-corruption, anti-GERB parties - There Is Such A People (ITN), Democratic Bulgaria (DB), Stand Up! Mafia, Get Out! (ISMV) - to form a minority coalition gov't propped up in a confidence-and-supply agreement by the Socialists to ensure Borisov's ouster from power.
  • The removal of Borisov from office would mark a sea-change in Bulgarian politics. The PM has served intermittently since 2009, and has build up a significant power base in the country. However, frustration with the gov't and allegations of corruption resulted in mass protests last year against the Borisov gov't. All the anti-Borisov parties are pro-EU and broadly centrist, meaning little change on the foreign policy front should the gov't be removed.