ELECTIONS HELD IN 1997
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|19 April 1997|
|Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament following the premature dissolution of this body on 19 February 1997. Previous general elections had been held in December 1994.|
|The date of the premature 1997 general elections was set on 12 February, following a month-long wave of strikes and daily demonstrations against the socialist Government which had been in power since January 1995 and whose Prime Minister Zhan Videnov had resigned in December 1996. Polling was not normally due until late 1998.
On 19 February, President of the Republic Petar Stoyanov (elected in November 1996) dissolved the National Assembly. A right-wing caretaker Government headed by the popular mayor of Sofia, Stefan Sofyanski, was installed and for its part strove to tackle the country's major economic problems (foreign debt, unemployment, inflation, etc.) that it had inherited. During the campaign, this governing coalition - comprising four parties and led by the conservative Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) - committed itself to carrying out free-market reforms and other changes required to meet the stiff terms of international agencies such as the IMF with which it had negotiated a large loan. It also pledged a crackdown on corruption and organised crime and, in foreign policy, membership in the European Union and NATO.
The main question boiled down to the exact margin of victory of the conservative camp over the ex-communist Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), led by Mr. Georgi Parvanov. Polling day saw a complete reversal of fortunes, as the centre-right coalition swept to an absolute majority and the Socialists incurred a loss of 67 seats, arriving in second place ahead of three other groups - an outcome that analysts attributed in no small part to the efficiency of the technocrat, caretaker régime. Foreign observers judged the voting free and fair.
On 21 May, the newly-chosen Parliament elected UDF leader Ivan Kostov as Prime Minister and approved his Cabinet.
|Round no 1 (19 April 1997): Elections results|
|Number of registered electors||7,289,956|
|Blank or invalid ballot papers||35,963|
|Round no 1: Distribution of votes|
|Union of Democratic Forces (UDF)||2,223,714||52.26|
|Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)||939,308||22.07|
|Alliance for National Salvation||323,429||7.60|
|Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB)||209,796||4.93|
|Round no 1: Distribution of seats|
|Union of Democratic Forces (UDF)||137||+50|
|Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)||58||-67|
|Alliance for National Salvation||19||+4|
|Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB)||12||-1|
|Distribution of seats according to sex:|
|Percent of women:||10.83|
|Distribution of seats according to age:|
|25 - 34 years||23|
|35 - 44 years||92|
|45 - 54 years||79|
|55 - 64 years||35|
|65 and over||11|
Copyright © 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union