Bulgaria. Political instability persisted in Bulgaria during the year. The government was subjected to severe pressure from the opposition, which demanded its resignation. In the elections to the European Parliament in May, the ruling socialist party BSP backed sharply compared to the new election a year earlier. It prompted the Bulgarian Turks Party of the DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) to withdraw its support for the government. The DPS was also critical of plans to begin construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which was supposed to allow the Russian Federation to export gas to Europe without passing through Ukraine. Both the US and the EU had threatened sanctions if Bulgaria started construction.
A couple of weeks later, for the fifth time, the government survived a distrust vote by a marginal margin. But the support the government now received from DPS was conditional on a promise to announce new elections. The right-wing Extreme Attack, which previously supported the government, joined the opposition. According to Countryaah.com, Bulgaria population in 2020 is estimated at 6,948,456. One reason was possibly dissatisfaction that the government was about to give in and put the South Stream project on ice. Attack, like BSP, was considered Russian-friendly.
At the end of July, Prime Minister Plamen Oresjarski resigned and a transitional government began. When new elections were held in October, the right-wing party GERB became the largest, albeit with weaker support than in the previous elections. Boiko Borisov, who was prime minister in 2009-13, returned to the head of a minority government consisting of GERB and two newly formed party groups: the Conservative Reformist bloc and the leftist party ABV. The new government took office in early November.
A banking crisis exacerbated the difficult economic and political situation in the country. At the end of June, two commercial banks were hit by so-called bank robberies. Many customers withdrew all their savings after rumors that the banks threatened to collapse. According to the central bank, the country had been subjected to a deliberate destabilization attempt through rumors spread through social media.
The banks were placed under the control of the central bank and the EU provided funds for support. After four months when the savers could not access their money, the country’s fourth largest bank, CCB, went bankrupt. The principal owner was suspected of fraud and had been arrested abroad.