Dimitar Bechev

Election reaction: The status quo wins in Bulgaria

Bulgaria held parliamentary elections on 26 March, with preliminary results indicating that GERB, led by Boyko Borisov, had emerged as the largest party. Dimitar Bechev analyses the results, writing that despite the Bulgarian Socialist Party building on their success in last year’s presidential election to run GERB close, the results showed the resilience of the status quo in the […]

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    Bulgaria heads to the polls – and the tide may be turning against Boyko Borisov

Bulgaria heads to the polls – and the tide may be turning against Boyko Borisov

Bulgarians will vote in a parliamentary election on 26 March. Dimitar Bechev argues that this time, the tide may be turning against Sofia’s most established politico and former PM Boyko Borisov, as polls suggest a neck and neck race between his centre-right party GERB and the Socialists. However, the next government will likely encompass a broad coalition and the real winner […]

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The West needs to call Russia’s bluff in the Balkans

Some commentators have hinted at the imminence of another war in the Balkans, highlighting Russia’s supposed role in such an escalation. Dimitar Bechev argues that no such conflict is on the cards: Moscow is exploiting a vacuum left by the West’s retreating pull factor in the region, while autocrats in the Balkans are playing along. He writes that the EU should […]

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    The murder of Russia’s ambassador shows Turkey in the worst possible light

The murder of Russia’s ambassador shows Turkey in the worst possible light

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot dead on 19 December at an art gallery in Ankara. Dimitar Bechev states that although the incident was shocking, it is unlikely to disrupt the recent thawing of relations between the two countries. But the incident nevertheless shows Turkey in the worst possible light and will provide an opportunity for Russia […]

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    A very Bulgarian drama: What Rumen Radev’s presidential election victory means for Bulgarian politics

A very Bulgarian drama: What Rumen Radev’s presidential election victory means for Bulgarian politics

Rumen Radev, the candidate backed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, won Bulgaria’s presidential election on 13 November. Dimitar Bechev assesses what the result means for the country, stating that while Radev has been described as a pro-Russian candidate, the more important implications will be for Boyko Borisov and the Bulgarian government. Borisov has tendered the resignation of his cabinet […]

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    A game of polls: Bulgaria’s presidential election threatens to shake up the country’s party system

A game of polls: Bulgaria’s presidential election threatens to shake up the country’s party system

Bulgaria will hold presidential elections on 6 November, with a second round runoff scheduled for 13 November. Dimitar Bechev previews the contest, writing that the candidate supported by the country’s largest party, GERB, could face a tougher contest than originally anticipated.

Presidential elections in Bulgaria are supposed to be a rather dull affair. Many expected the candidate handpicked by Prime […]

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    Turkey’s failed coup has firmly tightened Erdoğan’s grip on power

Turkey’s failed coup has firmly tightened Erdoğan’s grip on power

What does the attempted coup in Turkey mean for the country’s politics moving forward? Dimitar Bechev writes that on the one hand the failure of the coup illustrates the extent to which Turkey has become ‘civilianised’, with citizens less willing to accept the military interfering in politics. However, the net effect of the coup will be to greatly strengthen […]

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Experts react: 2014 Bulgarian parliamentary elections

Bulgaria held parliamentary elections on 5 October following the resignation of the country’s government in July. We asked six experts in Bulgarian politics for their reactions to the result, which saw former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) emerge with the largest share of seats in parliament.

Dimitar Bechev: “Who’s the winner then? Arguably, the […]

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    The Ukraine crisis has made it increasingly difficult for Serbia and Montenegro to avoid ‘taking sides’ in the clash between Russia and the West

The Ukraine crisis has made it increasingly difficult for Serbia and Montenegro to avoid ‘taking sides’ in the clash between Russia and the West

The EU and the United States have implemented a series of incremental sanctions against Russia over the on-going conflict in Ukraine. Dimitar Bechev writes on the effect of the crisis in Serbia and Montenegro, noting that the two countries’ strong economic ties with Russia sit at odds with their respective bids to join Western institutions.

Russia has often played the […]

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