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Quo vadis, Bulgaria

Early parliamentary elections were held in Bulgaria on 11 July 2021. The protest party There is such people achieved a razor-thin lead but party founder and entertainer Slavi Trifonov wants to govern alone. Will he risk another election?

Early parliamentary elections were held in Bulgaria on 11 July after the previous Prime Minister Boyko Borissov could not form a government with his party GERB. After #corruption cases involving the government became public last year, the Bulgarians demonstrated for several weeks demanding the removal of the associated people.

During the early elections, musician and show master Slavi Trifonov successfully challenged GERB with his protest party, There is Such People (ITN), and achieved a razor-thin lead.

The question is what comes next. Trifonov has no political experience, and his party has no convincing programme yet. With a turnout of less than 40 per cent, ITN won just around 24 per cent of the votes cast. That means that only one in ten Bulgarians eligible to vote support Trifonov's party. And yet he wants to govern alone. However, Trifonov has the option of a minority government in a coalition with two other protest parties. Such a cabinet would not only have around 110 of a total of 240 seats in the new parliament, but also the support of hundreds of thousands of citizens.

Will Trifonov risk another election, the third time this year, in the hope of consolidating his lead? This is difficult to justify and, in the worst case, could further weaken Bulgaria's democratic system or possibly even help GERB to come back.