Bulgarian Socialist Party

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Bulgarian Socialist Party
Българска социалистическа партия
Bǎlgarska socialističeska partija
Leader Korneliya Ninova
Founder Alexander Lilov
Founded 1894 (1894) (founded)
3 April 1990 (present name)
Headquarters 20 Positano Street, Sofia
Youth wing Bulgarian Socialist Youth
Membership Decrease 105,000 (1st)
Ideology Social democracy[1]
Mild Russophilia[2]
Political position Centre-left to Left-wing
National affiliation Coalition for Bulgaria
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Socialist international
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Red
National Assembly
38 / 240
European Parliament
4 / 17

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (Bulgarian: Българска социалистическа партия, БСП; Bulgarska sotsialisticheska partiya, BSP), known as the Centenarian (Столетницата, Stoletnitsata),[3] is a social-democratic[1] political party in Bulgaria and successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party. The BSP is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Socialist International. It is the leading component of the Coalition for Bulgaria centre-left coalition.


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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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[7] down from 150,000 in 2012, 210,000 in 2009, 250,000 in 1996 and around 1 million members during late Communist rule (1946-1990).[8][8][9]

List of chairmen[edit]


Portrait Term of office
1 Alexander 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


External links[edit]