The Bulgarian 2024 Elections

The next Bulgarian elections, scheduled for 9 June 2024, will be a turning point in the country’s democracy. The results of these elections will affect not only domestic policy but also international relations, with emphasis on the European Union (EU) and NATO.

Backstage there are, however, rising geopolitical tensions and shifts, such as the two-year long war in neighbouring Ukraine. These elections will be a demonstration of Bulgaria’s ability to retain political stability and align with the ideals of the EU. The new leaders will be in charge of resolving economic recovery, anti-corruption, and energy resources, setting the stage for the nation’s policies and agenda for the coming years.

The Bulgarian political system explained

The Bulgarian parliamentary system has its power split between the president and the government, which is led by the prime minister. The position of president is largely a formality but does involve responsibilities surrounding international relations and defence. The prime minister, who is the head of government, holds significant authority and controls domestic policy and administration, and the sentiments of the National Assembly.

The National Assembly or Norodno Sabranie is Bulgaria’s parliamentary body, which consists of 240 members who are elected for four-year terms. For a party to join parliament, it must have a threshold greater than 4% of the national vote, which allows for a diverse number of parties to enter into the legislature. 

Key political parties and leaders

The 2024 election brings with it a multitude of political parties. One of the most prominent is the GERB (Bulgarian: ГЕРБ, lit. ‘Coat of arms’) led by former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The current caretaker, Dimitar Glavchev, assumed office on 9 April 2024. GERB is known to be centre-right and focused on EU integration. Then there is the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), fronted by Korneliya Ninova, which is left-wing and looking for increased social spending and nationalist economic measures.

A relatively new player in Bulgarian politics gaining prominence in recent years is the “There is Such a People” (ITN), formed by TV host personality and singer Slavi Trifonov. The ITN party has strong appeal with younger voters due to its stance against the establishment and calls for large scale reforms and transparency. In addition, the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, made up of several smaller right-wing and centrist parties, is gaining momentum and aims to tackle corruption, judicial reforms and environmental issues.

The rise in new parties marks a deep-routed dissatisfaction with existing traditional political parties. These are the ingredients required for an unpredictable election that could result in new alliances or political realignments.

Current political landscape

The previous Bulgarian election was marked by division and following repeated elections as the major parties were unable to form a stable government. GERB won a significant portion of the votes, however, did not manage a clear majority. This fragmentation demonstrates the challenges in forming a government in Bulgaria and voter frustration with the existing political system.

Economic instability, corruption and public trust are the core issues facing Bulgarian politics today. Economic growth has been slow and a high inflation rate has been affecting the living standards of ordinary citizens. Corruption also remains a longstanding issue, with the nation being ranked as one of the most corrupt EU nations as stated by Transparency International. Voters are naturally unsatisfied with the attitudes of the political elites and their inability to resolve simple governance issues, which has led to widespread demand for reform and accountability.

Influencers and stakeholders

The Bulgarian elections are heavily influenced by the EU, which has played a significant role in moulding the country’s politics through funding, policy directives, reform and corruption resolution. Domestically, there is a large proportion of the population that appreciates strong leadership, exemplified by politicians such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin. This sentiment represents a broader favour in some constituencies for decisive governance. Countries like Russia have vested interests in the election outcome, given its strategic position in Europe and historical ties to the former Soviet Union. Although Bulgaria was never officially part of the Soviet Union, it was a close ally during the Cold War following World War II.

Predictions: who are the likely winners?

Predictions regarding the election results come from a blend of factual polling data and expert analysis. Recent polls indicate a close race between the centre-right GERB party and the populist BSP party, with GERB leading by a nominal margin. The recent rise in new political movements could, however, disrupt familiar voting trends.

Experts report several factors that could affect the status quo. Voter turnout is vital, with higher rates acting in favour of mainstream favourites GERB and BSP. It must also be noted that many young voters have grown impatient with the establishment and are moving in numbers toward new parties looking for change. Finally, the impact of a fragmented vote and the effectiveness of campaign strategies will be crucial in deciding who ultimately gains the upper hand.

International ramifications

Bulgaria’s EU membership could either be strengthened by a commitment to further integrate with EU policies or become disengaged if nationalist parties wanting a more independent stance gain power. The latter could disrupt EU plans ranging from compliance to their laws to pan-European projects.

Relations with neighbouring countries and superpowers will certainly be influenced by the election results. Bonds with allies like Russia and new engagements with the US could alter, based on any new government foreign policy. A government leaning toward EU values can expect to improve relations with the US and Western Europe, where steering toward nationalism could bolster ties with Russia, in particular resolving dependencies in energy.


As the Bulgarian elections could either bring significant shifts or remain unchanged, they will test the country’s aptitude for resolving pressing challenges like corruption and the calls for reform. For the people of Bulgaria, the outcome will reveal the effectiveness of governance in finding solutions to internal disparities, while internationally, it will determine the nation’s position with the EU, and with powers like the US and Russia. Given the ever-changing global landscape during these troubling times, anything could happen.

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