GERB (“Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria”)
Logo of the GERB political party. Source: gerb.bg
The center-right GERB party has been in power in Bulgaria since July 2009 after it won the 2009 parliamentary elections.
GERB (acronym for Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) is a center-right Bulgarian political party. (The word "gerb" also means "a coat of arms" in Bulgarian.)
GERB was originally founded in the spring of 2006 as a civic movement. On December 3, 2006, it was formally transformed into a political party.
The founding of GERB has been inspired by Boyko Borisov, a popular Bulgarian politician who held the position of Chief Secretary of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry during the government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg (2001-2005), and was later elected Mayor of the Bulgarian capital Sofia (2005-present).
As the GERB party was formed after Borisov became Sofia Mayor, and a mayor was not allowed at that time to be formally a party chair, Borisov's close associate, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, has been elected as the formal GERB party Chair. Borisov has been referred as the informal leader of GERB ever since.
The Chair serves a three-year term as elected by the National Assembly of the party. After Tsvetanov's term expired in December 2009, Boyko Borisov became formally the party leader.
GERB formed a Cabinet in July 2009, after winning the July 2009 parliamentary elections, with party leader Boyko Borisov becoming Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, and his close aide Tsvetan Tsvetanov becoming a Deputy PM and Interior Minister. The other Deputy PM in the Borisov Cabinet is Simeon Djankov, a former economist at the World Bank, who is also the Finance Minister.
GERB has defined itself as a Christian Democratic/Conservative, i.e. a center-right/rightist party. It is supposed to be ideologically similar to the German Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria.
GERB is believed to be moderately nationalist, and its leaders, including Borisov, have engaged in anti-socialist and anti-communist rhetoric, condemning all political structures that ever had connections with the so called State Security services of the former Communist regime in Bulgaria, especially the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).
Permanent officers or collaborators from the former so called State Security and the former Intelligence Department of the Bulgarian People's Army from are prohibited from holding positions within the party leadership. According to its leaders, GERB is open for coalitions with the other center-right or rightist parties, and is under no circumstances going to form a coalition with the BSP or the DPS.
GERB's social base is supposed to be the middle and upper middle class in Bulgaria, and primarily residents of the larger Bulgarian cities, i.e. the 27 Bulgarian district capitals, including the national capital Sofia.
Electoral Record and Government Participation
GERB took part in the first ever Bulgarian elections for Members of the European Parliament in April 2007, won the largest number of votes - 21,69%, and got 5 MEPs out of a total of 17 Bulgarian MEPs.
During the October 2007 Local Elections, the GERB party again attracted the largest number of votes by winning 11 out of a total of 27 district capitals' mayors.
In June 2009, in Bulgaria’s second European Parliament elections, GERB won 627 693 votes, or 24.36% of the cast votes, securing 5 MEP seats.
In July 2009, GERB won the Bulgarian parliamentary elections, getting a total of 1 677 870 votes, or 39.71% of the votes cast, securing 90 proportional MP seats, and 26 majority MP seats, to win 116 MP seats out of a total of 240 seats in the Bulgarian Parliament. Later, it got one more MP seat after a revision of the election results.
In October 2011, GERB’s candidates Rosen Plevneliev and Margarita Popova won the Bulgarian Presidential elections.
Plevneliev and his running mate Margarita Popova ended in first place with a total of 1 349 380 votes, or 40.11% of all cast votes. In the second round, Plevneliev and Popova won the Bulgarian Presidency with 1 698 136 votes, or 52.58% of the cast votes.
International Political Affiliations
Member of the European People's Party. GERB formally applied to join on June 6, 2007, and became an EPP member on February 7, 2008.
GERB is a Member of the Parliamentary Group of the European People's Party/European Democrats - EPP-ED in the European Parliament.
Created: July 2012
Last updated: July 2012