The Parliamentary Democratic Republic of Bulgaria (since 1990)

By | October 11, 2021

The first free elections since 1946 on 10./17. 6. In 1990 the BSP, which emerged from the BKP, won with an absolute majority of the seats under the chairmanship of Lukanov; On July 10th, the new people’s assembly met for the first time in Veliko Tarnovo. After the resignation of Mladenov, elected President by Parliament on April 3, 1990 after the State Council was abolished (July 6), the representative of the SDS, S. Schelew, became President on August 1, 1990; 1. Confirmed by direct election in 1992 (until 1996). On November 15, 1990, Parliament approved the new name of the Republic of Bulgaria. Prime Minister Lukanov resigned on November 29, 1990 returned after general strike on November 26th and three-week nationwide demonstrations (imprisoned in 1992); On December 7, 1990, a transitional government was formed with the participation of SDS and BSP under the non-party Dimitar Popow (* 1927, † 2015). An agreement between all parties represented in parliament laid down the “peaceful transition to democracy in Bulgaria” (January 3, 1991); the economic reform was decided (23rd January) and enshrined in law (23rd May). On July 12, 1991 the parliament adopted a new democratic constitution. After the victory in the parliamentary elections of October 13, 1991 (according to the new electoral law), the SDS took over under its chairman Filip Dimitrov (* 1955) on November 8th the formation of the government, which (in May 1992 reorganized) the reform policy v. a. wanted to continue resolutely in the economy despite social hardship (new laws on land restitution, March 20, 1992, and on privatization, April 23, 1992). In spring / summer 1992 there was a new mass emigration of Bulgaro-Turks. After the government was overthrown by a motion of no confidence in the People’s Assembly (October 28th), Ljuben Berow (* 1925, † 2006), who was not part of the party , was elected Prime Minister on December 30, 1992 (split of the SDS), but, like his predecessors, failed because of the great economic difficulties and the paralysis of the reform process (resignation on September 8, 1994). The early elections on December 18, 1994 were won by the BSP with an absolute majority; Prime Minister on January 25, 1995 was the chairman of the BSP, Schan Widenjow (* 1959). The improvement in living conditions hoped for by the voters did not materialize. On November 3, 1996, Father Stoyanov (SDS) was elected as the successor to Shelev as President of the Republic. According to, Bulgaria is a country starting with letter B.

The country’s economic and social situation deteriorated dramatically in the winter of 1996/97 after famine broke out, which led to unrest (storming of the parliament in Sofia in January 1997). The bourgeois-liberal United Democratic Forces (ODS; including SDS, BZNS, Democratic Party and 12 smaller parties) emerged victorious from early parliamentary elections (April 19, 1997); Ivan Kostow (* 1949) became Prime Minister. In the parliamentary elections on June 17, 2001, the National Movement Simeon II (NDST), which was only registered in April 2001, won a clear majority and on July 24, 2001 the parliament elected the former Tsar Simeon II (S. Sakskoburggotski) as the new Prime Minister; in the presidential elections on 11./18. 11. In 2001, however, the socialist G. Parvanov won the runoff election over the incumbent Stoyanov. Since the hopes of many Bulgarians for a higher standard of living had not been fulfilled, the ruling NDST also suffered a defeat in the parliamentary elections on June 25, 2005. The strongest force was the so far opposition BSP, whose chairman S. Stanischew succeeded after lengthy negotiations in August 2005 to form a coalition government made up of the BSP, NDST and DPS. Incumbent G. Parvanov won 64.0% of the votes in the first ballot in the presidential elections on October 22, 2006. But he had to face a runoff election against the ATAKA chairman Wolen Siderow (* 1956), because the turnout of 42.3% was far below the prescribed quota of 50%. On October 29, 2006 Parvanov brought it – with an even lower turnout – to 75.9%.

The election to the European Parliament on May 20, 2007 turned out to be a success for the newly founded GERB party of the mayor of Sofia, B. Borissow, which won five of the 18 Bulgarian mandates. Under pressure from the election results, reform demands from Brussels and allegations of bribery, two ministers resigned in early June 2007 and the government was restructured. On 17./18. 1. In 2008, President G. Parvanov and his Russian counterpart W. Putin signed the contracts in Sofia for the construction of a pipeline (“South Stream”) and a nuclear power plant. In the same year, investigators uncovered direct contact with the underworld by officials from the Ministry of the Interior. Interior Minister Rumen Petkow came to the threatening motion of no confidence by the opposition with his resignation on April 13, 2008 previously. A week later, Prime Minister S. Stanishev replaced three other ministers.

From the parliamentary elections on July 5, 2009, the GERB party, led by B. Borissow, emerged as the strongest party with 39.7%. BSP, which had previously ruled in a coalition, suffered a devastating defeat and won 17.7% of the vote. On July 27, 2009, Borisov was elected Prime Minister of a minority government in parliament. In addition to the fight against corruption, Borissov declared the rehabilitation of the budget to be an important goal. In 2010 the country was able to stop the recession triggered by the global economic and financial crisis. However, the unemployment rate was well above the average for recent years. GERB nominated the independent entrepreneur and former Minister for Urban Development for the 2011 presidential elections R. Plevnelev as a candidate. On October 30, 2011, he won the casting vote with 52.6% of the votes against the BSP candidate Iwajlo Kalfin (* 1964) and took office as the new head of state on January 22nd, 2012. In March 2012, the government abandoned the plan to build the country’s second nuclear power plant in Belene for cost reasons. In an attack on a coach at the airport in Burgas on July 18, 2012, five Israeli tourists, the Bulgarian bus driver and the alleged assassin died. The Israeli government blamed Iran or the pro-Iranian Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah for the crime. On January 27, 2013, a referendum on the question of a new nuclear power plant in Belene failed due to insufficient participation. General dissatisfaction with the Borisov government, the tough austerity policy pursued resulted in protests against the high electricity prices in February 2013. As a result, the government submitted its resignation on February 20, 2013, which took effect on March 12. A transitional government was in office until the new elections on May 12, 2013. In these elections the GERB party suffered heavy losses, but remained the strongest political force with 30.5% of the vote and 97 parliamentary seats. The GNP got 26.6% of the vote and won 84 seats in parliament. In addition, DPS (11.3%, 36 seats) and ATAKA (7.3%, 23 seats) made it into the parliament. Despite the precarious majority, the non-party financial expert P. Orescharski formed, who had been elected for the BSP, a cabinet supported by the BSP and DPS, which was approved by Parliament on May 29, 2013.

Parliamentary Democratic Republic of Bulgaria