Election Results and Regrets or What Just Happened in Bulgaria?

While the eyes of the world were turned to the tragedy in the subway, Bulgarian democracy lost yet a new parliamentary election. Coalition for Bulgaria, the newly renamed Bulgarian socialist party with communistic heritage swept the votes with 34%. The majority party of the past four years, Simeon II National Movement led by the former Bulgarian king remained second with 22% and the Turkish ethnic group Movement for Rights and Freedoms followed with 14%. The in-split democratic forces entered the election in three separate wings to win a total of 21% as neither one of the three passed the 10% barrier. Similarly, and surprisingly for all, was the win of the newly formed movement Ataka (Attack) which grabbed over 8% of the nation’s voters. The last remains under suspicion because of its controversial campaign incorporating nationalistic and chauvinistic propaganda with anti-ethnic messages.

It is only a guess if the elections were fair, with approximately 50% national participation and over one million Bulgarians living and working abroad. Regardless, a government with socialist majority should be expected. Such will enforce extreme left direction in politics similar to the time before the Berlin Wall.

Bulgaria’s entrance into the European Union will be delayed and the cooperation with NATO will be only minimal. Salaries may increase slightly, while prices will change drastically. The price of gas and bread have already gone up with hardly any time to forget the pre-election promises of political peace, economical prosperity, wellbeing of the people and security for the future. Promises will not be kept; in fact, they are already being broken. It is clear, that the Bulgarian people will suffer.

A socialist cabinet in can mean only one thing for the protestant movement in the country. The government will have authority and use it to strictly reinforce the new religious law. Orthodox monopoly over religious life will remain strong and the government will interfere in the business of the church through endless legalities or police force, much similar to the raids of July, 2004.

This is not new for the church in Bulgaria which went through a similar depression in 1996-97. It was during that time that the Bulgarian Christian Coalition was established to represent the evangelical believers in Bulgaria. Due to organizational, leadership and strategy flaws the Coalition received only 21,000 votes – hardly enough to enter Parliament. This failure should be a wake-up call for the Bulgarian Protestants, and especially for the Pentecostal majority among them. If the church indeed lives a political theology, as Moltmann claims, it is time for the church in Bulgaria to regain its rightful social place.