The Bulgarians are the EU frontrunners by a number of disheartening metrics: Bulgaria is the poorest EU member state with the lowest GDP, it has the highest perceived corruption and, according to a Gallup poll from 2012, it is home to the unhappiest population in Europe. Currently, there are hardly any signs that the situation could soon improve, says economist Georgi Angelov. “The political crisis has lasted for almost two years now and is ongoing. It has been having a negative impact on the economy and on investments,” Angelov explains. The Russian-Ukraine crisis, flooding this past summer, the growing fiscal deficit and the destabilization of the banks are making the situation worse yet. “The bottom line is: the future government is facing huge challenges,” says Angelov.
With the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, many Bulgarians are worried about a cold winter – Bulgaria is nearly 100-percent dependent upon Russian gas. Some observers expect to see street demonstrations soon. The latest poll shows that 70 percent of the population is skeptical regarding the new government and that half of Bulgarians do not expect to see things improve.
Economist Krassen Stantchev shares their doubts: “I expect to see the economic and fiscal policies deteriorate further because we have heard many populist promises during the election campaign.”
Political scientist Georgi Ganev, however, is a little more optimistic. He says that expecting a complete turnaround from these elections would be a bit much, but adds, “If we were to get a stable government with clearly defined structures, that could be a reassuring factor for the currently turbulent economic climate.”