This time, we discuss the background and the outcome of Bulgaria’s July 2021 snap parliamentary election that was held after no party was able or willing to form a government following the April election. Musician and TV host Slavi Trifonov’s populist ITN party narrowly won the most seats performing well predominantly among younger generations and in bigger cities. It was the first time since 2006 that a coalition led by the right-wing GERB had not won the most seats. Our guest expert, Mr. Piotr Pietrzak* points out that many citizens have turned to newly established anti-graft parties (like ITN, for instance), accusing the former GERB cabinet of financial fraud and other shortcomings. Mr. Pietrzak emphasizes that ITN’s strategy went against all traditional campaign methods: instead of TV, radio, or newspaper promotions, as well as billboard ads, the ex-TV host’s party was primarily active on social media platforms. Our guest analyst believes that the rise of anti-establishment parties may be seen as an indicative of a major change in the political landscape of Bulgaria. In terms of campaign strategies and political slogans, Bulgarian political actors have followed innovative approaches at European levels too, that’s why it’s worth keeping an eye on that country. Our podcast reveals what measures can be expected from a future Trifonov cabinet, as well as how to explain the absence of divisive ethnic or external enemy rhetoric in Bulgarian public life.
*Dr. PIOTR PIETRZAK (Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski") specializes in International Relations, geopolitics, and international law and is the editor-in-chief of In Statu Nascendi Journal of Political Philosophy and International Relations.