Bulgarian Socialist Party

Published 27th September, 2011

The Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP was founded in April 1990 and was the successor party to the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) which ruled Bulgaria from 1946 to 1990, when it was dissolved. The BCP in turn is able to trace itself back to the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party (BSDP) which was founded in 1891. The BSP describes itself as a social democratic party on the centre left which believes in social democracy and the third way.

Following the dissolution of the BCP in 1990 the new Bulgarian Socialist Party was quick to organise itself and was returned to power the same year with 211 of 400 seats; the only ex-communist party to carry out this feat in Eastern Europe.

By 1991 there was internal strife in the party and accusations about the role of some of its senior members in the final days of communism. This led to the BSP being defeated by the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) with the BSP taking 106 seats and being forced into opposition for the first time.

In 1994 the BSP were back, taking 125 of the 240 seats, but poor economic management and internal bickering led to them losing the 1997 elections where, under the guise of the Democratic Left Alliance, they managed to take just 58 seats.

They lost again very heavily in 2001, under the guise of the Coalition for Bulgaria, taking just 48 seats in the 240 seat National Assembly of Bulgaria.

By 2005 they had recovered somewhat and under the Coalition for Bulgaria guise, which now included eight parties, they won 82 seats with 31% of the vote and formed a coalition government with two other parties.

The experiment was a disaster and in 2009 the Coalition for Bulgaria won just 40 seats and were reduced to 17.7% of the vote.

Fresh elections were held in 2013 about two months ahead of schedule following a series of protests over high electricity prices. The Coalition for Bulgaria, led by the BSP won 84 seats, an increase of 44 seats on 2009. Although GERB were the largest party they were unable to form a government, so it was left to the BSP to try and build a coalition.

Plamen Oresharski was made Prime Minister and the Bulgarian Socialist party (BSP) with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) formed a coalition with 120 seats, exactly half of the seats in the National Assembly. The next year was a troubled period with the opposition moving a series of no-confidence votes against the government and with street protests growing in intensity. Following poor European parliament election results the government agreed to fresh elections for 5th October 2014.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party are members of Socialist International, members of the Party of European Socialists and also the European parliament’s Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats bloc. They have four seats in the European parliament.

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