Bulgaria

10th November 1989

more than a year ago

10th November marks the anniversary of Bulgaria's democratic revolution.

In 1989, one day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, massive anti-government demonstrations in Sofia and the larger cities forced the dismissal of dictator Zhivkov from the Bulgarian Communist Party. It was, however, a bloodless and somewhat slow revolution, with the former Communist party remaining in power even after the first free, multi-party elections since World War 2 were held in June 1990, mostly due to the traditionally conservative votes of the rural electorate.

The major opposition throughout the 1990s was the Union of Democratic Forces, a new coalition of small democratic parties, which alternated with the BSP at trying to hold onto power.

The early and mid 1990s saw a tough period of transition. There were power, heating and food shortages, causing more mass demonstrations and strikes. Neither the BSP nor the UDF were capable of holding on to power or dealing with the economic hardships. Things reached rock bottom in 1996/1997 as banks went under, people lost their savings, and hyper inflation reached nearly 600%. The biggest and most violent demonstrations ever seen began on 10th January 1997 and ended when the socialist government resigned on February 4th, making way for the democratic UDF to win the April election.

This was the beginning of Bulgaria’s real progress, with the new government immediately declaring its intention to join both NATO and the EU. From this point on Bulgaria’s economy gradually improved, attracting increasing foreign investment.

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