As I shared in my last post, in Bulgaria we make little difference between the EU elections and those for the Bulgarian parliament. The only difference may be that the EU elections will come sooner and will serve as a barometer for the public opinion. As the greatest prize for any party is seats in the Bulgarian parliament, their strategies for selecting and promoting MEP candidates will revolve around that context.
It is not a secret that the government has very low approval ratings. There have been numerous corruption scandals, stopped EU funds, questionable last-minute laws and of course - the crawling economic crisis. Many voters feel like no one is in the pilot seat, while most of the government has taken up the role of the stewardess that tries to calm down the passengers. That’s why many political analysts predict that BSP will not be able to form the next government. Not even with the help of DPS and NDSV. The first one will get it’s regular few percents from it’s core of supporters – enough to get a few seats in the parliament. The second however has slim chances to pass the 4% limit on its own and may attempt to form a election coalition with other parties.
Most people agree that the winner party in the EU and possibly the Bulgarian parliament elections will be GERB. The public support for it’s leader Boyko Borisov overwhelms the claims that he has connections to the criminal world. People mostly see him as a strong leader that will keep tight control on the discipline and organization within the new government. His track record of excluding party members on suspicions of corruption have brought more people to the relatively young party. There are however concerns about his crude way of talking, which although appealing to part of the public, may not be suitable for such an official post as a prime minister. Despite all the rumors and the fact that most people openly disapprove of his personality, many would vote for GERB, because they dislike the ruling coalition even more.
In the European Parliament elections Bulgaria has 17 seats. I predict that GERB will get 7 seats, BSP will get 5, DPS and Ataka will each get 2 and SDS/DSB will get one. Who the actual members will be, depend on election coalition treaties and internal politics. These will not be known until the last 2-3 weeks before the elections
Even if GERB wins the Bulgarian Parliament elections, they will probably not be able to form a government, because of the lack of majority. BSP and DPS are in and will form an opposition. Ataka is also in and will be divided between opposing the socialist and Borisov. The big question of the day is if SDS and DSB will make the 4% limit. In that case there is a big chance that they will support GERB and take part in the new government. That however is to be seen. In my views those right parties are growing more stable and can only earn voters from the scandals and election war that goes between BSP and GERB. In the end many may become disillusioned by the strong promises of Borisov and seek yet another alternative.
In any case, it is possible that the right wing parties will not be able to form a government. In that case GERB has promised not to collate with BSP or DPS. In that case we will have either another socialist government or a political crises on our hands. My personal opinion is that both are equally bad, especially because of the widely spread opinion that the socialists are not able and/or willing to address the corruption problems and lack of control on EU fund spending. All the reports of the EU Commission have expressed such concerns as well.
Finally it is worth mentioning that there are several very promising new parties and candidates that may gather unexpected support for the EU elections. Since so many people have moved away from the left, they may decide to invest their votes in smaller topic specific parties such as the Green or even the Pirates. Thus they may be able to get one of their candidates in the EP and everything will get a lot more exciting for us Bulgarians.