Elections in Bulgaria at Halt Once Again…

October 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

This is the third parliamentary snap election since 2021, an unprecedented situation in Bulgarian history, the previous ones being the April, July, and November 2021 elections. We are back at the red light like in 2014 at the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall…

Government Elections in Bulgaria (2005-2022):

2005 Parliamentary Elections
2006 Presidential Elections
2007 Municipal Elections
2009 Parliamentary Elections
2009 European Parliament elections
2011 Presidential Elections
2011 Local Elections
2013 Early parliamentary elections
2014 Early Parliamentary Elections
2015 Municipal Elections
2016 Presidential election
2017 Parliamentary elections
2019 European Parliament election (23-26 May)
2019 Bulgarian local elections
2019 Municipal Elections
2021 April National Parliament election
2021 Second National Parliament election
2021 Third National Parliament and Presidential elections
2022 October elections for 48th National Assembly after the fall of a four-party coalition in June 2022.

25 (now 33) Years after Communism…

25 years in 60 seconds at the red-light…

I’m driving slowly in the dark and raining streets of my home town passing through clouds of car smoke. The gypsy ghetto in the outskirts of town is covered with the fog of fires made out of old tires burning in the yards. And the loud music adds that grotesque and gothic nuance to the whole picture with poorly clothed children dancing around the burnings.

The first red light stops me at the entrance to the “more civilized” part of the city. The bright counter right next to it slowly moves through the long 60 seconds while tiredly walking people pass through the intersection to go home and escape the cold rain. The street ahead of me is already covered with dirt and thickening layer of sleet.

This is how I remember Bulgaria of my youth and it seems like nothing has changed in the past 25 years.

The newly elected government just announced its coalition cabinet – next to a dozen like it that had failed in the past two decades. The gas price is holding firmly at $6/gal. and the price of electricity just increased by 10%, while the harsh winter is already knocking at the doors of poor Bulgarian households. A major bank is in collapse threatening to take down the national banking system and create a new crisis much like in Greece. These are the same factors that caused Bulgaria’s major inflation in 1993 and then hyperinflation in 1996-97.

What’s next? Another winter and again a hard one!

Ex-secret police agents are in all three of the coalition parties forming the current government. The ultra nationalistic party called “ATTACK” and the Muslim ethnic minorities party DPS are out for now, but awaiting their move as opposition in the future parliament. At the same time, the new-old prime minister (now in his second term) is already calling for yet another early parliamentarian election in the summer. This is only months after the previous elections in October, 2014 and two years after the ones before them on May 2013.

Every Bulgarian government in the past 25 years has focused on two rather mechanical goals: cardinal socio-economical reforms and battle against communism. The latter is simply unachievable without deep reformative change within the Bulgarian post-communist mentality. The purpose of any reform should be to do exactly that. Instead, what is always changing is the outwardness of the country. The change is only mechanical, but never organic within the country’s heart.

Bulgaria’s mechanical reforms in the past quarter of a century have proven to be only conditional, but never improving the conditions of living. The wellbeing of the individual and the pursuit of happiness, thou much spoken about, are never reached for they never start with the desire to change within the person. For this reason, millions of Bulgarians and their children today work abroad, pursuing another life for another generation.

The stop light in front of me turns green bidding the question where to go next. Every Bulgarian today must make a choice! Or we’ll be still here at the red light in another 25 years from now…

NEW Bulgarian National Elections Ineffective Once Again

October 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication

Elections in Bulgaria: Can a Government be Formed? Lowest Voter Activity in 32 years

With 99.98% processed protocols in the CEC, 7 parties enter the next parliament. Here are the data as of 12.00 p.m. on October 3:

  1. GERB-SDS – 634,525 votes – 25.33%
  2. “We Continue the Change” – 505,914 votes – 20.20%
  3. Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) – 344,605 votes – 13.76%
  4. “Vazrazhdane” – 254,725 votes – 10.17%
  5. Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) – 232,932 votes – 9.30%
  6. “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB) – 186,474 votes – 7.44%
  7. “Bulgarian Rise” – 115,837 votes – 4.62%

7 political parties elected with the following allocation of seats in the 48th National Assembly:

  1. GERB: 67
  2. “We Continue the Change”: 53
  3. Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS): 36
  4. “Vazrazhdane” (Revival): 27
  5. Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP): 25
  6. “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB): 20
  7. “Bulgarian Rise”: 12

“Vazrazhdane” doubled its votes compared to the November 14, 2021 election, while the former ruling party, “We Continue the Change”, lost a quarter of the support it received then.

With “There Is Such a People”, the drop is about 60 percent of the vote for the party in November. GERB, DPS and “Democratic Bulgaria” are growing, although not drastically, while BSP continues the trend of shrinking its support.

175,338 Bulgarian citizens voted abroad. “We Continue the Change” and “Democratic Bulgaria” lost their electoral positions among Bulgarians abroad at the expense of the pro-Russian formation “Vazrazhdane”, which added more than 10 thousand votes to its result from November.

Boyko Borissov’s GERB is the first political force. It is followed by Kiril Petkov’s “We Continue the Change” with a difference of about 6-7 percent. The third position is for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is fourth. After them is the right-wing, pro-Russian “Vazrazhdane” (Revival), whose leader Kostadin Kostadinov insisted that the party will be #1 in these elections. Sixth is “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB).

Bulgaria: GERB offers Negotiations to Everyone – Borissov doesn’t want to be PM or MP

I neither want to be prime minister, nor deputy, nor minister”, GERB leader Boyko Borissov commented at a party briefing whether he is inclined not to be prime minister in the next cabinet. “The results of the elections are expected, but they give a clearer picture of the state of the party at the moment”, said Borisov.

Tomislav Donchev thanked all the people who supported GERB-SDS. “The moment suggests a search for unity, for agreement. Out of 31, GERB-SDS won in 24 regions, DPS in 5, ‘We Continue the Change’ – in 2. The map is blue, but that is not the most important thing”, commented Donchev.

The data by municipalities are also eloquent – in 265 Bulgarian municipalities, GERB wins in 174, he added. He reported that the party had returned their support of over 38,000 people, showing that they were following the right direction in an extremely aggressive environment.

Bulgaria: Explosions at “Arsenal” Weapons Factory in Kazanlak – Casualties reported

The Regional Office for Fire Safety and Population Protection reports on an incident at the “Arsenal” plant in Kazanlak, Bulgaria. The signal was received at 11:04 a.m.

Two fire trucks from Kazanlak were sent to the scene, including departmental fire brigades and ambulances. According to unofficial information, there are two casualties, and eyewitnesses report that there was an extremely loud explosion and a dark cloud over the area.

*Update: 3 deaths reported, 3 injured people are transported to the hospital in Kazanlak.

The Labor Inspectorate confirmed the information about the incident, they also reported on an injured woman who was transported to the hospital in Stara Zagora.

 

Bulgaria once again on the verge of early elections

June 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

After the first successful vote of no confidence in Bulgarian history has become a reality, the county is now governed by a cabinet in resignation and a parliament torn apart by inter-party attacks. The National Assembly and the government can remain operational but attention must be paid to temporary majorities formed in plenary hall. However, adopting the budget update with its anti-inflation measures, which a large part of the Bulgarian population depends on, is in question, political analysts warn.

The vote is now over, but many questions remain unanswered.

“None of us who often commented on the objective difficulties, the contradictions in the coalition and the clash with the opposition could imagine that this government would be toppled so easily and so quickly,” sociologist Boryana Dimitrova, head of Alpha Research, said in an interview with BNR. “The economic stalemate, inflation and tense geopolitical state of affairs have led to a situation when no one is particularly eager to take power. Analysts have already pointed out that the lack of a political force that feels ready to take power prolongs the life of this government.”

After the cabinet was brought down, it turned out that solving the political puzzle is not so easy. The inability of the National Assembly to make decisions after the withdrawal of one of the coalition partners – “There is Such a People” is more than obvious and this will lead to early elections, analysts say.

Despite the difficult situation, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that “We Continue the Change” party, which is the largest political force in parliament, would accept the mandate of President Rumen Radev to form a government and would try to find 121 independent MPs. However, Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev is pessimistic and forecasts that the country is heading towards new elections in the autumn.

“Seeking support from several MPs while it is unknown what mechanism can be used for them to join in and how sustainable their vote would be is either a tale for naive people or a dangerous political delusion,” Boryana Dimitrova says.

In this situation, the speed with which the parliamentary roulette will be turned is important. This depends on the Bulgarian President and there are constitutional deadlines, but the process can be faster or slower enough to update the budget – an extremely serious topic for many Bulgarians. The update envisages pension hike from 1 July, tax cuts for working families with children, support for the business to deal with high energy prices. Minister of Social Affairs Georgi Gyokov called on MPs to “show some common sense” and to support the social and anti-inflationary measures specified in the update.

“There is a lot of appetite towards the budget and discussions are heated,” sociologist Boryana Dimitrova says. “On the one hand we are told that various demands can be met, while others claim that this is a time bomb that would explode next year. It is difficult to find the truth, but in any case we need a serious conversation and a purposeful budget update. Whether this will happen and what proposals will be made between the first and second reading of the document in the National Assembly is an important political question that will give us signals whether we can think about future coalitions or overlap of opinions at least when it comes to basic economic principles.“

Government Elections in Bulgaria (2005-2022):

2005 Parliamentary Elections
2006 Presidential Elections
2007 Municipal Elections
2009 Parliamentary Elections
2009 European Parliament elections
2011 Presidential Elections
2011 Local Elections
2013 Early parliamentary elections
2014 Early Parliamentary Elections
2015 Municipal Elections
2016 Presidential election
2017 Parliamentary elections
2019 European Parliament election (23-26 May)
2019 Bulgarian local elections
2019 Municipal Elections
2021 March National Parliament election
2021 Second National Parliament election
2021 Third National Parliament and Presidential elections

ALIVE, ALIVE once again!

April 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Publication

For almost two decades now, we have published this Easter article without the proper picture. When Church of God World Missions first published it around 2002, I could only find one of the late-in-life pictures of my late grandmother. However, with our current research for the 100th anniversary of Pentecostalism in Bulgaria for Brill, SPS and EPTA, new historical evidences have been discovered related to this article. Beside pictures of my grandmother from the early age as one of the first Sunday School teachers in the Bulgarian Assemblies of God, the British Library published a number of early minutes and founding protocols of the first few Pentecostal churches in Bulgaria. Reading through several thousands of pages of archives that we have been searching for almost two decades now, we were able to find not only information on my grandmother but also the names of my great and great-great grandmother written in the founding documents of the Assemblies of God/Pentecostal Union of Bulgaria; thus tracing, five if not six Pentecostal generations back into the history of our movement. For the first time in the last one hundred years, they are now part of the official historical records once again.

Rev. Dony K. Donev, D. Min.

“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

2 Timothy 1:5

My Grandma, Todorka Mindova, was one of the first Sunday school teachers in the Bulgarian Pentecostal Union. After successfully graduating from a training course in the city of Sliven led by Donka Kinareva and personally organized by Dr. Nicolas Nikolov, she was allowed to minister in the denomination. But for grandma, the faith was more than teaching or a sermon. It was life. Many Bulgarian Pentecostal ministers can testify to the effectiveness of her ministry. And for her constant fasting and thousands of answered prayers I could write a book.

But far more interesting for me as a child was the fact that being a Sunday school teacher, Grandma never tried to preach to me. In the hardest moments of life she would only confess these words, which I have remembered from my childhood: “We serve a living God.” More was not needed. For Grandma preached with her life.

This I know from personal experience, because after she had been interceding for me in prayer for more than 16 years, God saved me in the Pentecostal church in Yambol without anyone evangelizing or preaching to me. There, at the last pew by the back wall, God saved my eternal soul and my young life was transformed completely. Not through human words or sermons, but through the testimony of her life in which He was revealed as a living God. For the ones who have known Him as a living God, preach with their lives.

When several months later God called me to the ministry in the Church of God in Pravetz, I met people who knew the living God just like Grandma. Their personal experiences gave them the strength to survive the persecution of the communist regime and the sentence of the brutal life. These were presbyters, who preached the message of the crucified God regardless if it cost them their own lives, because they knew Him as the resurrected and living God. A mother, who gave her leukemia stricken son to the prayers of the church and the living God returned him to her forever healed. A family, that lost their young son, but continued to minister before God. People, who endured the persecution of the regime and the hardship of life, for whom their faithfulness to God needed no rational explanation. They testified with their lives that God is alive and their testimonies were the very reason hundreds of students in Pravetz received Christ as a personal Savior. Because, through the testimony of the lives of one generation, He reveals Himself as a living God to the next generation in a spiritual revival, which changes history itself.

Thus preached the ancient. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And from their testimony Jesus Christ alone made that marvelous conclusion that no mortal theological mind could birth: “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Mark 12:27). Through my eleven years of formal theological education, I have not read a more powerful interpretation of the Biblical text. Such conclusion cannot be reached by any hermeneutical methodology, semantic exegesis or ontological paradigm. Such interpretation of the Word can only be given by the One who lives over death. Because He does not speak about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the chronological order of the historical times, but simultaneously, as One who is independent of time and as One who is life itself.

For this reason, the apostles of the Early Church called Him “God of our fathers”, having the understanding that the faith in the living God is handed down from generation to generation. And not just faith, but the Gospel which finds its eternal power in the Resurrection of the Son, in order to become a living faith, which makes us live as He lives. Otherwise, how would we be different from any other religion that serves handmade idols and dead gods? Is it not by the fact that He cannot be found in the death of the mortals? For He is God alive forevermore.

If He was not a living God who could raise from sin and death, the sermon of the Early Church would have been empty, their faith without foundation, their hope without reason, their sacrifice in vain, their testimony untrue and their expectance of His Parousia absurd. But they knew. Even if we have forgotten today, they knew. The ones who had written the words of the gospel story, they had touched the stone that rolled away, they had seen the shroud put aside and they heard the words of the angel: “He is not here, for He has risen.” For this very reason, when they were sentenced without fault, the first Christians preached that He is alive. And even when they were killed in the arena of the gladiators, thrown to the hungry lions, burnt as human torches at the Roman aqueducts, sentenced to die through dismembering, stabbed and beheaded, crucified upside down along the roads of the empire before the eyes of one whole sinful world, they looked up toward the Coming One and with their life and death preached to the generations to come: “Alive, alive, alive forevermore.”

God is still alive in Bulgaria today. The ones, who were saved in the revival 20 years ago, knew him as the living God. But does our generation, having known Him then as a living God, live now as if God is dead? Have we kept the faith in the living God as we received it, so we can give it to our children? And how do we preach the living God? With quarrels, divisions and divorce or with the power of our testimony? So that the generations may say about us that we have preached with our lives. And not just our small, poor and mortal life, but His: the eternal life of the living God. For, “Alive, alive, alive forevermore. Jesus is alive.”

San Francisco, 2009

NEW REVIVAL in BULGARIA

July 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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Unprecedented revival is sweeping the country of Bulgaria again and has started among the Pentecostal Church of God. We have spent the last full month in traveling and preaching in key churches crossing the country from the capital Sofia to the Black Sea and from the Danube River through the Balkan Mountains to the Thracian Valley.

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While people in general are struggling with the economic and political crises and the church is in continuous leadership dilemmas, God is on the move with a new revival mainly among the new generation of young people. We saw this in recent national youth events like our spring 2011 youth leaders gathering near Yambol and the regional youth revival in Silistra during Easter. Similar meetings were reported in Eastern Bulgaria in May and in the capital Sofia in June with the arrival of praise team from Hillsong, which gathered over 7,000 people in one single event. And last but not least, various meetings of Roma leaders and youth, to which we had the privilege to contribute as well.

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We are now looking forward to combining these experiences within our national Bible Camp which we hold for young ministers and youth leaders, followed by the New Wave camp at the Black Sea and the traditional Karandila Youth Camp in the Balkan Mountain. For when one generation looses touch with God, as described in Jeremiah 5:31, God always brings a new generation to serve Him. Today, God is raising a generation of young and faithful people full with the Holy Ghost, and we simply cannot afford to stay out of this great move of God in the last days.

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