Parliamentary Chamber: Narodno Sobranie


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  Narodno Sobranie

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  19 April 1997

Purpose of elections:

  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.

Background and outcome of elections:

  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
Voters 4,291,258 (58.86%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 35,963
Valid votes 4,255,295

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group 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
Euroleft 234,058 5.50
Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB) 209,796 4.93

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) 137 +50
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) 58 -67
Alliance for National Salvation 19 +4
Euroleft 14 +14
Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB) 12 -1

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 214
Women: 26
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

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Engineers 51
Academics, researchers 50
Doctors 28
Jurists 26
Economists 25
Teachers 13
Journalists 9
Diplomats 4
Others 34

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Copyright © 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union