Bulgarian citizens headed to the polls for the third set of snap parliamentary elections in 2021 on Sunday 14 November, and for the first time also voted in the Presidential elections at the same time.
According to the results, a new party formed by former caretaker ministers Kiril Petkov and Asen Vasilev (We Continue the Change) finished top of the poll ahead of GERB which continued to lose ground and ALDE Party member MRF climbed to finish in third place overall with 13% of the vote.
As a result, MRF has gained additional seats and will now have 34 members in the next Parliament.
The Socialist Party (BSP) fell into fourth place, ahead of the party of Slavi Trifonov in fifth place, Da Bulgaria in sixth place and finally the patriotic alliance Revival in seventh place. Seven parties will enter the next Parliament, potentially complicating any coalition formation. Turnout was 39.1%, a new historic low.
For the first time in the party’s history, MRF also fielded its own candidates in the Presidential election, with party leader Mustafa Karadayi as candidate for President and Iskra Mihaylova MEP as candidate for Vice President. The MRF candidates finished in third place overall with 11.57% of the vote. A second-round run-off will take place on Sunday 21 November.
Speaking after the vote, Mustafa Karadayi said: “It is a fact that these elections are marked with the lowest turnout since the democratic changes, and this proves the election fatigue of Bulgarian citizens. However, despite being the third parliamentary election that Bulgaria held this year, MRF has improved its result and established itself as the third-largest political party in the National Assembly.”
“Our party can talk to all political parties, and like in the previous parliament MRF has one condition for support for the new government - restoration of statehood. This condition still applies today,” he said.Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP, acting co-President of ALDE Party, added: “I am happy to see that MRF managed to remain stable, maintaining our relative share of votes, and is the only party previously represented in parliament that managed to achieve an increase in support.”
“As a longstanding ALDE Party member, we will continue to play a key role in Bulgarian politics and will continue to promote the liberal agenda. Especially because this result was achieved in the backdrop of having received an abundance of worrying signals from citizens across Bulgaria, whose accounts were describing arbitrary police pressure without substantiated reason, amounting to a chilling effect and deterrence to participate in the electoral process in smaller towns, minorities and Roma communities, we want to get the country back on track.”
Photo credit: MRF