Bulgaria Recent Politics

The street protests, which continued even after the election, intensified after the controversial media entrepreneur Deljan Peewski (* 1980) on June 14, 2013 had been appointed head of the national security authority. Even after the decision was withdrawn, thousands continued to take to the streets every day. On October 2 and 7, 2013, the government survived a vote of no confidence tabled by the GERB party. The Peewski case also triggered student protests at the end of October 2013. The students complained about a lack of transparency and democratic deficits and called for the government to resign. On February 12, 2014, this was again able to withstand a vote of no confidence in parliament. In the European elections on May 25, 2014, GERB won the most votes with 30.4%. The ruling GDP came to only 18.9%. As a result, Father Orescharski’s cabinet lostfurther support in parliament. In June 2014, under pressure from the EU, the government temporarily stopped work on the South Stream project. A banking crisis in the same month exacerbated the domestic political conflicts. On July 23, 2014 Oresharski finally announced his resignation as head of government. On August 5, 2014, President R. Plewneliew nominated the non-party constitutional lawyer Georgi Blisnaschki (* 1956) as Prime Minister of a transitional government with the aim of preparing new elections. These elections took place on October 5th, 2014. The GERB party remained the strongest force in parliament with 32.7% of the vote and 84 seats. The BSP suffered heavy losses, winning only 15.4% of the votes and 39 seats. The DPS received 14.8% of the votes and 38 seats, the centrist »reform bloc« (RB) 8.9% of the votes and 23 seats.

The Social Democratic Alternative for Bulgarian Rebirth (ABV), ATAKA and the National Front for the Rescue of Bulgaria (NFSB) each won 11 seats in the parliament. After difficult coalition negotiations, the parliament re-elected B. Borissow on November 7, 2014to the head of government. A minority cabinet formed by him (GERB, »Reformblock«, ABV) was also confirmed by parliament. After disputes over an electoral reform, the ABV withdrew its support from Prime Minister Borissow in 2016. The ABV’s deputy head of government and labor minister Iwajlo Kalfin (* 1964) resigned in May 2016. In the runoff election for the office of President on November 13, 2016, the BSP-supported candidate R. Radew defeated the previous Speaker of Parliament Zezka Zacheva (* 1958) with around 59.4% of the votes.nominated by the ruling GERB party. It only won around 36.2% of the votes. After the defeat of the government candidate, Prime Minister Borisov announced his resignation on November 14, 2016. A referendum on electoral law reform held at the same time as the first round of the presidential elections on November 6, 2016 did not achieve the required quorum. R. Radew was sworn in before Parliament on January 19, 2017 and took office on January 22, 2017. He appointed the law professor and former parliamentary president Ognjan Gerdschikow (* 1946) as Prime Minister of a transitional cabinet that took up government work on January 27, 2017. On March 26, 2017, the early elections to parliament took place. It was that of B. Borissow led party GERB with the win of 32.7% of the votes and 95 seats to the strongest force in the popular assembly. The BSP was able to grow strongly compared to the last election and received 27.2% of the vote and 80 seats. 9.1% of the votes and 27 seats went to the nationalist electoral alliance »United Patriots« (OP), to which the parties ATAKA, IMRO – BMPO and NFSB had come together. The DPS suffered heavy losses and only got 9% of the votes and 26 seats. While the smaller bourgeois parties failed at the 4% hurdle, the newly formed populist Wille (WOLJA) party run by the entrepreneur Wesselin Mareschki (* 1967) won 4.2% of the vote and won 12 seats and entered parliament immediately. B. Borisov formed a bourgeois nationalist government with the “United Patriots”, which the Wille party assured of extensive support. On May 4, 2017, the parliament elected Borisov as prime minister for the third time.

With the dissolution of the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (COMECON) and the Warsaw Pact in 1991, according to health-beauty-guides, Bulgaria’s membership in these organizations also formally expired. With a view to a new foreign policy orientation, Bulgaria sought the old ties of v. a. to preserve Russia (conclusion of trade and friendship treaties, 1992), to establish new regional relations (diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Macedonia; agreement with Turkey, December 20, 1992 and 1999) and economic and political relations with the democracies of the West on a new basis (admission to the Council of Europe, May 5, 1992; association agreement with the EC, March 8, 1993; signature of NATO -Partnership for Peace program, February 14, 1994; 1998 Adoption of a security concept with NATO as a pillar, which was approved by Parliament with a large majority; on November 21, 2002 NATO decision on the admission of Bulgaria, which was implemented on March 29, 2004). In July 1998 Bulgaria signed the CEFTA Accession Agreement. The bilateral relationship with Macedonia was concluded in February 1999, inter alia. relaxed by the recognition of a Macedonian nation.

In February 2000 Bulgaria was involved in the signing of a charter for cooperation and good neighborliness in Bucharest as a member of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (English abbreviation SEECP; founded 1996) with five Balkan countries and Turkey, and in February 2001 in Skopje a charter on stability and cooperation in the Balkan region, in 2008 on the establishment of the Cooperation Council for Southeast Europe.

Bulgaria participates in international peace missions. In 2006, an agreement was signed with the USA that included the joint use of four military bases and the stationing of up to 2,500 American soldiers in Bulgaria.

The greatest international sympathy went to the fate of the five Bulgarian nurses who had been imprisoned in Libya since 1999. They were sentenced to death in December 2006 for allegedly deliberately infecting over 400 children with the HIV virus. After “compensation payments” and a lessening of the sentence in life imprisonment, the nurses were flown to their homeland on July 24, 2007.

On January 1, 2007, Bulgaria joined the EU (2000–05 accession negotiations). In 2008, the EU Commission blocked the reconstruction aid that had already been promised for Bulgaria because of the inadequate fight against corruption and considerable deficiencies in the judiciary. In 2009 some of the funds were released again. The envisaged accession of Bulgaria to the border-free Schengen area failed at a meeting of the EU interior ministers on September 22, 2011 due to a veto by the Netherlands and Finland. The two countries accused Bulgaria and Romania, also rejected, of deficiencies in the fight against corruption and organized crime. On January 1, 2014 the full freedom of establishment for citizens of Bulgaria in other EU countries came into force.

In September and October 2015, Bulgaria closed the airspace to Russian supply aircraft en route to Syria. The background was formed by doubts about the purely humanitarian character of the flights.

In February 2016 Bulgaria took part in a conference of the Balkans in Vienna on the migration and refugee crisis in Europe. At the beginning of 2015, the Bulgarian parliament decided to extend a border fence with Turkey that was erected in 2014 to curb illegal migration. In October 2016, Bulgaria received the support of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to secure the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

Bulgaria Recent Politics