Bulgarians to Vote in Fifth Snap Election in Three Years
Possible Forward Scenarios for the June Parliamentary Elections

April 10, 2024
On June 9th, Bulgarian voters will head to the polls to elect the country’s next parliament in a snap election after the country’s informal coalition government – supported by the centrist We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB) and the centre-right GERB-SDS of longtime ex-PM Boyko Borissov – collapsed in March.

To be held simultaneously with the upcoming European parliamentary elections, Bulgaria’s latest snap election is likely to produce a six-party parliament, according to the latest polls. Borissov’s GERB is ahead, polling around 25%, while support for its former informal coalition partner PP-DB is down to 17%. Competing for third are the Turkish minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) of former media mogul Delyan Peevski and the pro-Russian Revival (Vazhrazhdane). Two other formations, the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the populist There is Such a Nation (ITN), are also expected to pass the 4% threshold. Below we outline three possible scenarios for this Sunday’s snap elections.

#1 A potential agreement between GERB and the DPS

During the election campaign, GERB leader Borissov has indicated his readiness to work together with the DPS in the next parliament. This could happen either through an official coalition between the two formations, or through unofficial support from the DPS for a possible minority government between GERB and one of the smaller parties, namely Revival or – more likely – ITN. Under this scenario, the centrist PP-DB would be the main opposition formation in the new parliament. Even though an official coalition between GERB and Revival is theoretically possible, it is not likely to be accepted by DPS since their co-chair Delyan Peevski is heavily focused on presenting himself as a pro-Western politician and securing his removal from a US anti-corruption sanctions list under the Global Magnitsky Act.

Accordingly, the most likely outcomes under this scenario would be either an official coalition between the DPS and GERB (with Peevski or Borissov as Prime Minister), or an official GERB-ITN minority government (with Borissov as PM), supported by the DPS. The implications of both outcomes would include continued support for Bulgaria’s integration into the Eurozone and the Schengen Area, as well as for current EU and NATO policies on Ukraine. Domestically, such a government would likely be criticized by the opposition for not focusing on the fight against corruption, state capture and media capture. After new amendments to the Constitution, the new government would be expected to vote on the new Judicial System Act, which should reform the judiciary. Taking the alleged networks of influence held by GERB and the DPS over the current judicial system into account, critics argue these reforms may not be done in a way that would effectively assist the fight against corruption.

#2 A conditional return to the informal alliance between GERB and PP-DB

The We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria alliance (PP-DB) is largely focusing on the risks associated with future collaboration between GERB and DPS. In the campaign, they have claimed that Peevski is the “biggest evil” to befall Bulgaria and that his alleged influence is the reason for the fall of the previous government. This is why if GERB – as the projected election winner – does aim to work with PP-DB and sign an official agreement for a coalition government with the PP-DB bloc, Borissov would have to sign off on not including Peevski in the decision-making process through alternative majorities in the parliament.

This would especially hold for issues such as the judiciary reform or the planned reform of the security services and regulators. Since these reforms have not been achieved by PP-DB while in office with 27% of support, it would be even harder to achieve them now as support for the centrist multi-party alliance is down to around 17%. However, if such a government is negotiated on and eventually formed, this would again mean a continuation of support for Bulgaria’s Euro-Atlantic orientation and integration objectives. Domestically, this would likely lead to more effective policies in the fight against corruption and for judicial reform, through a vote on the already new Judicial System Act.

#3 Yet another snap parliamentary election

Bulgaria’s deepening political crisis and the large-scale compromises required for creating a coalition government in the newly elected parliament after June 9 may lead to yet another snap election later this year. The soonest another election can be held is in September, but – should no parties agree to form a majority – November (or December) looks more probable, given protracted coalition talks are expected to last the summer. Under this scenario, the incumbent Caretaker Government of Dimitar Glavchev will most likely continue to govern, with all legislative acts to be voted on through ad hoc coalitions and negotiations between all formations in parliament.

Should Bulgaria prove unable to form an elected government, this may cause delays in its efforts to adopt the Euro and fully join the Schengen Area, as well as uncertainties around its Ukraine policy. Domestically, there is no certainty as to how acts regarding the reforms needed for EU integration policies will be voted on. The largest risk is that a protracted political crisis may result in stronger support for anti-establishment formations such as the pro-Russian Revival, which might lead the country to an Eastward turn in foreign policy.

Moreover, a recent development regarding a vote on the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide in the UN General Assembly has shown that incumbent Caretaker PM Glavchev is also willing to support Russia’s and Serbia’s foreign policy goals. Immediately before the UN vote, Glavchev instructed the Bulgarian representative to abstain, rather than to vote for a resolution for the annual commemoration of the genocide in Srebrenica, to which Bulgaria was a co-author. The Bulgarian representative’s answer to these instructions indicates her belief that they are a result of external pressure, coming from Russia and/or Serbia. This further shows that Glavchev’s government, together with anti-establishment formations, may have a significant impact on the direction of the country’s foreign policy trajectory.


Aretera will be closely monitoring the aftermath of Bulgaria’s latest snap elections. If you would like to learn more about the implications of the upcoming election for international businesses, please get in touch with Lilyana Zagorcheva, Regional Director for Bulgaria and the Balkans at L.Zagorcheva@AreteraPA.com