Bulgaria’s June 2024 European Parliament elections: CEC announces seat distribution

At a meeting on the evening of June 12, Bulgaria’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) formally decided on the distribution of the country’s 17 seats in the European Parliament among the coalitions and parties that stood in the June 9 elections.

Of the 17, Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB-UDF coalition will have five, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms – co-led at national level by Delyan Peevski, sanctioned by the United States and United Kingdom for corruption – three, the reformist We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition three, and pro-Kremlin party Vuzrazhdane three.

ITN, a populist party led by Slavi Trifonov, a presenter on a minor television cable station, will have one seat.

According to the CEC, with 100 per cent of ballots tallied, on June 9 GERB-UDF got 23.54 per cent, the MRF 14.66 per cent, WCC-DB 14.44 per cent, Vuzrazhdane 13.98 per cent, the BSP 7.01 per cent and ITN 6.04 per cent. These are the groups that surpassed the 5.88 per cent share of valid ballots to win seats in the European Parliament.

GERB-UDF list leader, former Speaker of the National Assembly Rossen Zhelyazkov, has declined to take up the European Parliament seat to which he was elected, opting to sit in the newly-elected 50th National Assembly, elections for which were held “two-in-one” on June 9.

While the CEC has yet to formally announce those deemed to have been elected as MEPs, the GERB-UDF contingent apparently will be Andrei Kovachev, Andrei Nobakov, Emil Radev, Eva Maydel and Iliya Lazarov.

Of those elected to the European Parliament on the MRF ticket, the party’s co-leader Dzhevdet Chakarov has declined to take up his seat, as has Iskra Mihailova, formerly an MRF representative in the European Parliament. Mihailova, an MEP since 2014, is a vice-president of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament.

The MRF’s three seats will go to Ilhan Kyuchuk, Taner Kabilov, and Elena Yoncheva, the last-mentioned formerly elected as an MEP on a Bulgarian Socialist Party ticket, and who as such, was a member of the EP’s Socialists and Democrats group. The MRF, as a party, is a member of the Renew Group, a different political family that is an alliance of liberals and democrats.

The three WCC-DB MPs are to be, on the basis of unofficial data pending an official CEC decision, Nikola Minchev – a former Speaker of Bulgaria’s National Assembly – Radan Kanev, a veteran reformist MEP, and Hristo “Itso Hazarta” Petrov, the last-mentioned best-known as a rapper before his entry into politics.

Preferential voting by WCC-DB voters eliminated Stefan Tafrov and Daniel Lorer from the places that otherwise would have gained them seats as MEPs.

The Vuzrazhdane trio are Stanislav Stoyanov, former journalist and strident Russophile Petar Volgin, and Rada Laikova.

The BSP MEPs are to be Kristian Vigenin, formerly – in more than one term – a deputy speaker of Bulgaria’s National Assembly and formerly the country’s Foreign Minister in the 2013-14 “Oresharski” administration, and Tsvetelina Penkova.

BSP candidate Roumen Gechev, arguably best-known for having held office in the BSP’s catastrophic Videnov administration in the 1990s and who has been shown to have worked for communist-era secret service State Security, was eliminated from election through preferential voting.

ITN’s MEP is to be Ivailo Vulchev.

The results represent voting in Bulgaria’s fifth election of MEPs.

In 2019, GERB won six seats, the BSP four, the MRF four, nationalist VMRO two and Democratic Bulgaria one.

In 2014, GERB won six, the BSP four, the MRF four, former television interviewer Nikolai Barekov’s populist Bulgaria Without Censorship two and the centre-right coalition Reformist Bloc, formerly led by Radan Kanev, one.

In 2009, GERB won five, the BSP four, the MRF three, far-right pro-Russian party Ataka two, the National Movement for Stability and Progress (a party formed around former monarch Simeon Saxe-Coburg) two and centre-right electoral alliance the Blue Coalition one.

In 2007, in Bulgaria’s first European Parliament elections after the country joined the EU at the start of that year, GERB won five, the BSP five, the MRF four, Ataka three and NMSP one.

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

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