Parties and coalitions of various colours win latest local elections in Bulgaria

Photo: BGNES

Judging by the official data of the Central Election Commission, the balance of powers in this country has not changed after the run-off elections held on November 3. GERB party continues to be the main political party in the Bulgarian towns, because its nominees for mayors won the local elections in 15 district cities and in two district cities (Kyustendil and Montana) candidates supported by GERB won the latest mayoral elections. Four years ago, GERB won 21 district cities with its own candidates. However, the latest results are not a big reason for concern, because the number of municipal councilors nominated by GERB is highest even in the cities where candidates of the opposition won the run-off elections.

After the run-off elections, the Bulgarian Socialist party won 4 district cities (Ruse, Pernik, Razgrad and Blagoevgrad) and has a strong presence in the municipal councils. The socialists performed much better than in 2015. That is why they have the reason to speak of a comeback. Bulgaria’s Premier and leader of GERB Boyko Borissov called this process “normalization”, because in his words, it is not normal for GERB to govern all district cities.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms won independently or in coalition in 47 municipalities. In 2015 it won 39 Bulgarian municipalities. 18% of all municipal councilors in this country are nominated by MRF. Meanwhile, this party said it expanded its geographical presence in this country, which is of big importance for a political formation with strong positions mainly in regions with high concentration of ethnic Turks.

Only VMRO out of all three nationalistic formations in the United Patriots coalition maintained its positon on a local level and the other two-the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria and Ataka lost positions. In the district city of Vidin the candidate of SDS won the run-off elections in competition with the candidate of GERB party. In Yambol, the candidate of Direct Democracy scored a surprising victory against an opponent nominated by BSP. In Dobrich the candidate of the movement Bulgaria for Citizens won against the candidate of GERB at the run-off elections. In Pleven, an independent candidate supported by Democratic Bulgaria won against GERB. This bright picture left an impression of more pluralism in the structures of the local authorities.

At the end of the day, the balance of powers after the run-off elections in Bulgaria does not meet the forecasts of some analysts about a forthcoming change that maylead to early Parliamentary elections in this country. GERB lost positions in some district cities, but remains the first political force. The weak performance of Ataka and NFSB foreshadows continued weakening of the internal opposition in the ruling coalition GERB-United Patriots. In other words, GERB can complete its four-year term of office together with VMRO and some tactical coalitions with MRF and some independent MPs. That is why, Premier Borissov noted after the first round of the local elections that the current government in Bulgaria remains stable.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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