Governing Without An Opposition: The Aftermath Of The Early Parliamentary Election In Bulgaria

A long-standing view among political scientists is that less fractionalized party systems produce more stable democracy and deliver socially better results. Putting theory and practice together, the question that remains is, ‘is that always the case?’. Theoretically speaking, policy is more easily passed and policy choices can be expected to be more stable in the long run when supported by a united majority, yet, there can be situations in which the range of policy options is compromised due to the fact that the political elite governing a state is just not diverse enough. The results from the lack of a true political opposition are political instability and directional confusion both within and outside the state. Similar situation is revealing itself currently in Bulgaria, where after the parliamentary election held in May this year, the country’s government and its likely political choices, have taken a 180° degree turn. Political crisis, radical change of direction (perhaps more for the outside world than for those currently leading the country), and once again a three-legged coalition – these are the characteristics of the current political situation in the country. The reason for calling early elections, which were originally due at the end of the summer, was the resignation of the Borisov Cabinet earlier the same year. Ex-prime minister Boyko Borisov announced his cabinet resignation after nearly two weeks of spiraling social protests1 in which thousands of people demonstrated against the level of corruption, the lack of law and order, and the persistent poverty. Claiming that ‘he will not govern a state where the police beats the citizens’ and with the belief that his party, GERB, has a strong potential of winning the elections which were to follow, Borisov, surprising both national and international politicians, stepped down. In the subsequent weeks, all three parties (GERB, the left-wing socialist party, BSP, and the Turkish minority party, DPS), which were given the opportunity to form an interim government had returned it to the President, who after consultations proceeded to the formation of a care-taker government.

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Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 4 No. 3

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