Troublemakers and game changers: how political parties stopped democratic backsliding in Bulgaria

Gherghina, S. and Bankov, P. (2023) Troublemakers and game changers: how political parties stopped democratic backsliding in Bulgaria. Democratization, (doi: 10.1080/13510347.2023.2250985) (Early Online Publication)

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Democratic backsliding has been halted in different countries around the world through various types of accountability. However, it is unclear what happens in political settings in which the usual accountability characteristics are absent. This article aims to explain how backsliding was stopped in 2021 in Bulgaria, which is an illustrative example of such a political setting. We illustrate how opposition political parties played a crucial role in halting democratic backsliding, through collaboration with each other and isolation of the government party. Our qualitative analysis uses data from media reports and public statements from the elites belonging to the parliamentary parties in the three Bulgarian parliaments of 2021. The novelty of our analysis lies in identifying a particular way of addressing democratic backsliding in countries in which the incumbent enjoys strong support and has been in office for a long period of time, and in presenting an alternative strategy to those which are often discussed in the literature. Instead of competing, political parties can cooperate to neutralize a common opponent and amplify the impact of other factors.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Backsliding, political parties, cooperation, Bulgaria.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bankov, Dr Petar and Gherghina, Dr Sergiu
Authors: Gherghina, S., and Bankov, P.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Democratization
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1743-890X
Published Online:03 September 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Democratization 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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