Bulgaria’s 2013 elections: Spectre of a hung parliament

Extrapolating from exit polls, which put four parties in Bulgaria’s next National Assembly, the spectre of a hung parliament appears to loom large.

Bulgaria’s Parliament has 240 seats, and even with decisive official final results awaited, it remains an open question whether a sustainable governing coalition can be formed.

According to polling agency Alpha Research, in an estimate soon after voting ended at 8pm on election day, May 12, Boiko Borissov’s GERB will have 97 seats and Volen Siderov’s Ataka 24; thus – a perhaps politically unthinkable – GERB-Ataka coalition could muster 121 votes. Ranged against this would be the 85 MPs of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the 34 of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms: in all, 119.

On the basis of arithmetic and leaving aside political science, a GERB-Ataka coalition could win a parliamentary vote on a cabinet, but such a coalition would have to maintain unblinking vigilance against a vote-of-no-confidence scenario. Further, Ataka has somewhat of a record in the two previous parliaments of shedding MPs.

Sova Harris gave GERB 101 seats, Ataka 24, the socialists 82 and the MRF 33. This would leave a BSP-MRF coalition five short of 120 seats in the 240-seat legislature.

Ataka, even though its performance – again, going by exit polls- secured a lower percentage than in 2009, could find itself in demand by partners of hitherto improbability of varying degrees. On election night, Siderov was setting himself as playing hard, if not impossible, to get.

In modelling all these scenarios, one that remains that cannot be ruled out is another round of parliamentary elections later in 2013. All other factors aside, such as promised further street protests and disillusionment among ordinary Bulgarians with their politicians, one dynamic that could effect the outcome of a possible future vote is that it would be contested by parties whose finances would be worse off – although, in turn, the big three (GERB, the BSP, the MRF) would be relatively least affected.




Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.