April 5, 2021


BULGARIA: Technocratic cabinet or new vote likely after Sunday’s election

BY Andrius Tursa

Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on reddit

Listen to our reports with a personalized podcasts through your Amazon Alexa or Apple devices audio translated into several languages

The ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) won the 4 April parliamentary election but is unlikely to lead the next government. A fragmented parliament and long-standing political rivalries will likely result in a temporary technocratic/minority government or snap general elections in the summer.

With 80.9% of ballots counted, GERB is firmly in the lead with 25.9% of votes. A political newcomer There is Such People (ITN) outperformed the pre-election projections and ranks second with 18.0%. The center-left Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) comes in third with nearly 15%, its worst electoral performance to date. Another newcomer center-right Democratic Bulgaria (DB) stands fourth with 10%, slightly ahead of the Movement for the Rights and Freedoms (MRF) with 9.6% of votes. A third newcomer coalition Stand Up! Thugs Out! (IS.BG) with 4.9%is also expected to enter parliament. Finally, the right-wing Bulgarian National Movement (VMRO) and a coalition between Will (Volya) and National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB) – both currently supporting the Borisov government – are unlikely to pass the 4% threshold to win mandates. Turnout reached around 47.5% and was the lowest since 1990.

The Central Election Commission will announce final results by Thursday, 8 April. Despite multiple reports of irregularities, the result is unlikely to be contested. Once the new parliament is convened – expectedly in the second half of April – President Rumen Radev will give a mandate to the largest parliamentary group (GERB) to form a government.

As previously noted, GERB is unlikely to remain in office as most elected lists have ruled out cooperation with the incumbents. As a result, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (GERB) has already proposed a technocratic government to lead the country out of the Covid-19 pandemic by December and oversee the management of the European Union’s post-pandemic recovery funds. However, an expert cabinet proposed by GERB would find it difficult to secure backing from a majority of deputies (121 out of 240) in parliament.

If GERB fails to form a government within seven days after receiving the mandate, the task would be given to ITN – the second-largest group in parliament. The party, led by a popular TV personality Slavi Trifonov, has not commented on its post-election intentions beyond the pledge not to cooperate with the so-called ‘systemic parties’ – GERB, BSP and MRF. Unless Trifonov changes his stance – which would be an unpopular move for his party – ITN cannot form a majority government. While BSP might offer its informal backing to an ITN-led minority cabinet, Trifonov might prefer early elections in such case.

If ITN returns the mandate, a smaller parliamentary group chosen by Radev would have a final attempt at forming a government. At this point, the threat of another general vote during the pandemic might force parties in parliament to mend their stances and look for compromises, such as forming a grand coalition between GERB, BSP and MRF or a temporary technocratic cabinet.

Finally, if all three rounds of government formation are unsuccessful, the constitution requires the president to appoint a caretaker government, dissolve parliament and schedule new elections to be held within two months. Given a highly fragmented parliament and entrenched political rivalries, this appears as the most realistic scenario at this point.

More by


Bulgaria‘s National Recovery and Resilience Plan is ready for submission to the European Commission. In the Czech Republic, the newly elected Chamber of Deputies is scheduled to hold its first sitting on 8 November. On

Read More »