Leaders of protests that felled the Bulgarian government are struggling to unite to form a single political party that can challenge the old order at May’s election. Despite hundreds of thousands of people protesting in the past months over what they see as a corrupt political class that has failed to improve living standards, that impetus is now waning and their leaders are squabbling among themselves. “Suddenly, every Bulgarian is … the organizer of the protests,” Angel Slavchev, from the National Citizens Initiative, one of several groups competing to lead protesters, told Reuters. “I have had enough of fakes.”
With no unified protest movement standing, the vote is again likely to be divided between the two largest parties – outgoing Prime Minister Boiko Borisov’s rightist GERB and the Socialists – and two or three smaller groups.
Opinion polls suggest no party will win a majority, but the lack of a new grouping will make it easier to stitch together a coalition – averting fears that a second election would have to be held, which would raise questions over the implementation of economic policies needed to maintain a currency peg to the euro. But the lack of representation in parliament is likely to mean the discontent of the hardcore of protesters in the poorest European Union will persist, threatening turnout in May and perhaps further weakening the mandate of the new government.