Repeating a move made in Bulgaria’s May 2019 European Parliament elections, Prime Minister and GERB party leader Boiko Borissov signed on August 27 an alliance with the extra-parliamentary Union of Democratic Forces for the autumn mayoral and municipal elections.
The signing of the deal with the UDF ahead of the May elections was followed by agreements between GERB and other small parties, and this is likely to be repeated ahead of the October 2019 local elections.
UDF leader Roumen Hristov said that the agreement was “not a central but a national one” and his party would support GERB in all major cities, including Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas and Stara Zagora.
The event was attended by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, one of GERB’s deputy leaders. Borissov’s party has not yet announced who its candidate for mayor of Bulgaria’s capital city will be.
“The reunion of the Old Right is not only necessary but also very important, because we respond to militant populism with realism and responsibility,” Fandukova said.
“With this association, I think we are clearly showing our candidates our desire to work for the municipalities and that they have a clear political responsibility, and that is in the right-wing spectrum,” she said.
Borissov said that he expected that especially in Sofia, the elections would be “very mean”.
“They will be despicable not for anything else but for the established practice of sticking BSP (Bulgarian Socialisty Party) colleagues to some candidate who they will later talk about, if successful, that theirs is the candidate who won, but if unsuccessful, run away from him like a devil from incense,” Borissov said.
The UDF, which in the late 1990s was the pre-eminent right-wing political force in Bulgaria, is a very pale shadow of its former self.
Since its defeat in the June 2001 election at the hands of former monarch Simeon Saxe-Coburg’s party, the UDF has undergone a series of attempts at resuscitation, under a succession of eight leaders, counting Hristov.
In recent years, where it has been present on the political landscape at all, it has been as a constituent part of a short-lived grouping, such as the Blue Coalition and later the Reformist Bloc.
The traditional post-communist right-wing electorate in Bulgaria has largely backed GERB since Borissov formed his party.