Walking the walk or just talking the talk? VMRO‐BND’s efforts to become a mass party

Bankov, P. , Gherghina, S. and Silagadze, N. (2021) Walking the walk or just talking the talk? VMRO‐BND’s efforts to become a mass party. Politics and Governance, 9(4), pp. 307-316. (doi: 10.17645/pag.v9i4.4562)

[img] Text
259375.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Many populist radical right parties compete on a regular basis in the Bulgarian legislative elections. Among these, the VMRO–Balgarsko Natsionalno Dvizhenie (VMRO-BND, IMRO–Bulgarian National Movement) enjoys the greatest organizational stability and maintains a regular presence in politics and society despite volatile electoral performance. Using qualitative content analysis of official party documents (programs, statutes, and policy papers) and media reports, this article argues that the organizational stability of the VMRO-BND stems from its grassroots efforts to establish deep links in society. While its membership is limited, the local activities of the party between and during elections, and its network of loosely-affiliated organizations create a grandiose impression of presence across Bulgaria. Through this presence, VMRO-BND fosters a sense of belonging for its members which in turn supports the party’s goal of achieving a so-called “national cultural unity” and the preservation of Bulgarian traditions. Internally, VMRO-BND provides room for non-member participation and bottom-up initiatives from local activists, while remaining strongly centralized at the top around its leader, Krasimir Karakachanov. Overall, VMRO-BND reveals the importance populist radical right parties place on social presence, even when membership numbers are low.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bankov, Dr Petar and Gherghina, Dr Sergiu
Authors: Bankov, P., Gherghina, S., and Silagadze, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Politics and Governance
Publisher:Cogitatio Press
ISSN (Online):2183-2463
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Politics and Governance 9(4):307-316
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record