Bulgaria’s pivotal moment for democratic reform


Reformers inside and outside Bulgaria’s government will need to adapt to a fractious political period to successfully implement the commitments contained in its latest Action Plan, the Open Government Partnership suggests.

Bulgaria is an upper-middle-income country, performing in the mid-range across all Global State of Democracy (GSoD) categories of democracy, says International IDEA.  It scores in the top 25 per cent of countries in several factors of Representation, Rights, and the Rule of Law, and over the last five years, it has experienced significant improvements in both Access to Justice and Effective Parliament.

But Bulgaria is categorized as a Semi-Consolidated Democracy in the Nations in Transit 2023, Freedom House’s annual study on the state of democracy in the region stretching from Central Europe to Central Asia.

In an episode of #BalkansDebrief (above), Atlantic Council nonresident Senior Fellow Ilva Tare is joined by Dimitar Bechev, Lecturer at Oxford School of Global and Area Studies to assess the implications of another caretaker government for Bulgaria’s economic and European outlooks.

On June 6, 2023, Bulgaria marked a significant milestone as a new government was formed after a tumultuous period over two years and five elections, the International Republican Institute (IRI) adds. This new political landscape undoubtedly presents both windows of opportunity for reforms, but also an array of formidable challenges.

Recognizing this pivotal moment, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and IRI – core partners of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – host a discussion to provide insight into the thinking of Bulgarian leaders, focusing on such vital topics as strengthening the rule of law, promoting economic resilience, combating corruption, and Bulgaria’s new foreign policy outlook.

Opportunities for Reform: Bulgaria’s New Government

Tuesday, July 18 · 11am – 12:30pm EDT


  • Kimber Shearer, Executive Vice President, International Republican Institute
  • Abdu Alkebsi, Managing Director for Programs, Center for International Private Enterprise

Panel Discussion:

  • Asen Vassilev, Minister of Finance, Republic of Bulgaria
  • Daniel Mitov, Member of Parliament, Republic of Bulgaria
  • Dimitar Bechev, Lecturer at Oxford School of Global and Area Studies and a Visiting Scholar at Carnegie Europe
  • Bilyana Gyaurova-Wegertseder, Director of the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives


  • Paul McCarthy, Europe Regional Director, International Republican Institute


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