Resignations in aftermath of Bulgaria’s June 2024 elections

The results of Bulgaria’s June 9 2024 early National Assembly and regular European Parliament elections have been followed by resignations of two political party leaders, while others – against the background of low voter turnout and decreases in support – are mulling their parties’ future roles.

On June 10, Hristo Ivanov resigned as leader of Yes Bulgaria, a constituent party of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, in turn part of the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition.

In the early National Assembly elections, WCC-DB got 14.33 per cent of the vote, according to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC). WCC-DB ran third, compared with the April 2023 early parliamentary elections, when it was second, with 24.56 per cent of the vote.

In the European Parliament elections, WCC-DB got 14.44 per cent, according to the CEC.

Ivanov said that the executive board of Yes Bulgaria had accepted his resignation. He would not seek re-election, and did not intend taking up the seat in the National Assembly to which he had been elected.

“We believe that this result for the parties of our coalition requires the assumption of leadership responsibility, which is why I resigned and my colleagues supported this decision,” he said.

Among the other co-leaders of WCC-DB, Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria leader Atanas Atanassov said that he would seek a vote of confidence from his party at a congress.

WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov said on Facebook on June 11 that his party was gathering to consider the new situation in depth.

“Three things are clear: we will be a strong and constructive opposition, we will be the strongest advocates for the continuation of the European model in Bulgaria, where goods are distributed fairly, we will fight against any attempt at theft and corruption,” Petkov said.

Earlier, soon after exit polls following Sunday’s vote, Petkov said on Facebook: “We have heard you. We will be strong opposition to [GERB-UDF leader Boiko] Borissov and [Movement for Rights and Freedoms co-leader] Peevski’s plans to return us to the years of lean pizza and racketeering”.

GERB-UDF won the most votes in the National Assembly elections on June 9, with the MRF in second place.

On June 11, Kornelia Ninova announced that she was resigning as leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

Since becoming leader of the BSP in May 2016, Ninova has led the party to a succession of defeats.

In the June 9 2024 National Assembly elections, the BSP got 7.06 per cent of the vote, down from 8.93 per cent in April 2023. In the March 2017 elections, it received 27.93 per cent.

In the June 2024 European Parliament elections, the BSP got 7.01 per cent. In Bulgaria’s previous regular European Parliament elections, in May 2019, the BSP got 24.26 per cent.

Ninova described the BSP’s June 2024 results as “catastrophic”.

She said that she was convening the BSP national council, which would decide whether to accept her resignation.

This is the third time that Ninova has announced her resignation because of BSP’s poor results in elections. She did so most recently in 2021, after which the party congress did not accept it. After the European elections in 2019, Ninova resigned, but later withdrew her resignation.

On June 10, BSP Youth demanded Ninova’s resignation, saying that since 2017, the party had lost 800 000 votes.

Borissov has said little since the June 9 election, after briefly expressing thanks to those who voted for GERB-UDF, and saying that GERB would reserve further comments on the election results.

Peevski said on Facebook after voting ended on June 9: “I believe that the MRF and I personally will live up to the great trust you placed in us”.

Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of Vuzrazhdane, which placed fourth in Sunday’s National Assembly elections, said that the party was not satisfied with its results because it had bigger goals.

Kostadinov lashed out at Velichie, a surprise new entrant to Bulgaria’s Parliament – win won 40.7 per cent of the vote for the National Assembly, after no polling agency had shown it as having a chance to surpass the threshold for seats – as “an American project designed to stunt the growth of Vuzrazhdane”.

To read The Sofia Globe’s June 2024 Election Factfile, please click here.

(Photo, of the Party House in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, currently being used for sittings of the National Assembly:

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