Bulgarian Socialist Party

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Bulgarian Socialist Party

Българска социалистическа партия
Bǎlgarska socialističeska partija
LeaderKorneliya Ninova
FounderAleksandar Lilov
Founded2 August 1891 (2 August 1891) (founded)
3 April 1990 (present name)
Preceded byBulgarian Communist Party
Headquarters20 Positano Street, Sofia
Youth wingBulgarian Socialist Youth
Membership (2016)Decrease 105,000 (1st)[1]
IdeologySocial democracy[2]
Democratic socialism
Political positionCentre-left to left-wing
National affiliationCoalition for Bulgaria
European affiliationParty of European Socialists
International affiliationSocialist International
European Parliament groupProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
National Assembly
79 / 240
European Parliament
4 / 17
41 / 265

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (Bulgarian: Българска социалистическа партия, БСП; Bulgarska sotsialisticheska partiya, BSP), known as the Centenarian (Столетницата, Stoletnitsata),[6] is a social-democratic[2] political party in Bulgaria and the successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party. It is a member of the Party of European Socialists with a pro-EU stance,[4] although it has taken some eurosceptic positions and called for an end to EU sanctions against Russia.[3] BSP is also a member of the Socialist International. It is Bulgaria's largest political party by membership.[1]


The Bulgarian Socialist Party is recognized as the successor of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party created on 2 August 1891 on Buzludzha peak by Dimitar Blagoev, designated in 1903 as the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Narrow Socialists) and later as the Bulgarian Communist Party.[7] The party was formed after the political changes of 1989, when the Communist Party abandoned Marxism–Leninism and refounded itself as the "Bulgarian Socialist Party" in April 1990.

The party formed a government after the Constitutional Assembly elections of 1990, but was forced to resign after a general strike that December. A non-partisan government led by Dimitar Popov took over until the next elections in October 1991. In the aftermath the party was confined to opposition. As part of the Democratic Left coalition (forerunner of the Coalition of Bulgaria), it helped form a new government in 1995, headed by BSP leader Zhan Videnov as Prime Minister. Its term ended at the end of 1996, after the country entered into a spiral of hyperinflation, the most serious economic and financial crisis in its recent history. Large-scale demonstrations in the cities and a general strike prevented the formation of a new socialist government.

In 2001, party chairman Georgi Parvanov was elected President of Bulgaria on the second round, defeating incumbent SDS candidate on the second ballot. Parvanov resigned as party chairman and was succeeded by Sergei Stanishev.

After two full terms out of power (1997–2005), the BSP and its allies in the Coalition for Bulgaria won the national elections of 2005 with 31.0% of the vote and formed a coalition government with the centrist party National Movement Simeon II and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). The cabinet was headed by the prime minister and BSP chairman Sergei Stanishev. In 2006, Georgi Parvanov was reelected president in a landslide, becoming the first Bulgarian president to be reelected directly by the public. In 2007, Bulgaria joined the European Union. Later, the triple-coalition lost millions of Euros of European financial aid in the wake of allegations of widespread political corruption. The cabinet was also unable to react to the encroaching world economic crisis and its term ended with a budget deficit after several successive surplus years.[8]

In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the BSP was defeated by the new conservative party GERB, obtaining 37 out of 240 parliamentary seats (18%), and went into opposition.

In the 2013 parliamentary elections the party took 26.6% of the votes, second behind GERB with 30.5%. Nevertheless, the party's candidate for prime minister, Plamen Oresharski, and his proposed government were elected with the parliament support of the BSP and the DPS. The appointment of the controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski as head of the state security agency DANS, sparked large-scale protests on 14 June.[9] Demonstrations urging the government to step down continued until the government resigned in July of the following year.


The party is the largest in Bulgaria by number of members, as of 2016 having 105,000 members, down from 130,000 in 2013,[10] 150,000 in 2012, 210,000 in 2009, 250,000 in 1996 and around 1 million members during late Communist rule (1946-1990).[11][11][12]

List of chairmen[edit]

Portrait Term of office
1 Aleksandar Lilov
3 April 1990 12 December 1991
2 Zhan Videnov
(1959– )
12 December 1991 21 December 1996
3 Georgi Parvanov
Georgi S. Parvanov.jpg 21 December 1996 5 December 2001
4 Sergei Stanishev
Sergey Stanishev 2009 elections diff crop.jpg 5 December 2001 27 July 2014
5 Mihail Mikov
MihailMikov3.jpg 27 July 2014 8 May 2016
6 Korneliya Ninova
Kornelia Ninova in 2013.jpg 8 May 2016 Incumbent

Electoral history[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

The following is a summary of BSP's results in legislative elections for the Bulgarian National Assembly.

Election In coalition with Votes won Percentage Seats won Change Government
(Coalition totals) (Coalition totals)
1990 None 2,887,766 47.15 (#1)
211 / 400
Steady Government
1991 Pre-Electoral Union 1,836,050 33.1 (#2)
106 / 240
Decrease 105 Opposition
1994 Democratic Left 2,262,943 43.50 (#1)
125 / 240
Increase 19 Government
1997 Democratic Left 939,308 22.1 (#2)
58 / 240
Decrease 67 Opposition
2001 Coalition for Bulgaria 783,372 17.15 (#3)
48 / 240
Decrease 10 Opposition
2005 Coalition for Bulgaria 1,129,196 31.0 (#1)
82 / 240
Increase 34 Government
2009 Coalition for Bulgaria 748,114 17.7 (#2)
40 / 240
Decrease 42 Opposition
2013 Coalition for Bulgaria 942,541 26.61 (#2)
84 / 240
Increase 44 Government
2014 BSP - Left Bulgaria 505,527 15.40 (#2)
39 / 240
Decrease 45 Opposition
2017 BSP for Bulgaria 955,490 27.20 (#2)
80 / 240
Increase 41 Opposition


  1. ^ a b "Само 344 000 членове стоят зад партиите в парламента" [Parties in Parliament only have 344,000 members]. 24 Chasa. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Bulgaria". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b Barzachka, Nina (25 April 2017). "Bulgaria's government will include far-right nationalist parties for the first time". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b Tsolova, Tsvetelia (17 March 2017). "Socialists say Bulgaria pays high price for EU's Russia sanctions". Reuters. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Bulgaria: Caught Between Moscow and Brussels - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency". novinite.com. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Столетницата избра Бриго за София" [Centenarians chose Sofia Brigo] (in Bulgarian). Dnes.bg. 1 September 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  7. ^ "История" (in Bulgarian). Българска социалистическа партия. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  8. ^ Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Budget Deficit Tops BGN 386 M in January–July 2009 – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency. Novinite.com (1 September 2009). Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  9. ^ Bulgarians protests over media magnate as security chief, Reuters, June 14, 2013
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ a b "500 000 Bulgarians are members of parties".
  12. ^ "Труд". Труд.

External links[edit]