Bulgarian international relations analyst and OSCE elections expert, Neli Kirilova* helped us analyze the results and the background of the ballots from a local perspective.

Launched just two months before the election, the centrist anti-graft party We Continue the Change (PP) won the most seats with 25.7% of the votes, and has started negotiations to form a government after its surprise victory. According to Ms. Kirilova, the support of the other protest parties will not be enough for PP to form a solid majority, however, a possible collaboration with the socialist BSP would question the credibility of all the anti-graft formations that were founded in recent years with the very aim to remove the old political elite of Bulgaria from power. The elections expert highlighted that while by the first round of the legislative election, the 2020 anti-corruption demonstrations led to the defeat of the ruling center-right GERB party, the atmosphere of protests was not able to gain a new momentum after the unsuccessful government formation attempts during the spring and the summer of 2021.

The first round of the country’s presidential election took place on the same day as the legislative one, however, as no candidate was able to receive a majority of the vote, a runoff was held on 21 November, with incumbent head-of-state Rumen Radev being able to win against university professor Anastas Gerdzhikov.

Should you be interested in the geopolitical context of the November 2021 elections in Bulgaria, and in the programs of the parties and candidates that ran in the ballot, we highly recommend you to listen to the latest edition of the Votes & Seats podcast series.

*Neli Kirilova is a Bulgarian international relations and security policies expert. She has been involved in various election processes as member of an OSCE observer team or local electoral committees both in Bulgaria and abroad. Ms. Kirilova is a PhD candidate at the Corvinus University of Budapest and a PhD Fellow at the European Security and Defense College. Ms. Kirilova’s main field of research is geopolitical competition in the Black Sea region.