- Slovaks voting for the Hungarian Coalition Party
because its simply the sanest in the country. Thats fascinating. I did spend some time studying ethnic minority parties in the region in the nineties, and I dont think any previously had significant impact beyond its own and, at most, other ethnic minorities?
I mean, several tried to turn themselves from a specifically ethnic party (Bulgarian Turks, Latvian Russians) into a multiethnic umbrella party for all ethnic minorities in the country, with varying degrees of success. One of the SMK's original constituent parts, Együttélés-Spoluitie-Wspólnota-Souití, presented itself as such as well (hence the quadri-lingual name). But an appeal to the majority group <thinks>?
Well, Ahmed Dogan, the ever smooth-operating leader of the Bulgarian Turks, for some time set up a common group with centrist Bulgarian liberals, the Zhelev-oriented ones say, that had become politically homeless after the popular anti-communist movement (Union of Democratic Forces) turned very conservative when the only other option was still the ex-communists. The Liberal Democratic Union (LDS) it was, Zhelev loyalist Dimitar Ludzhev was the big Bulgarian name there - here, I found a link
. (Reads it: oh, Zhelev himself was honorary president of the union, and they got membership in the Liberal International!). It never actually stood in an election as a common list though, by the 2001 elections Dogan's Turkish party DPS ran on its own again.
My bad, here - thats what you get when you're an expat and you dont have your library at hand. I made a rather major oversight here.
The DPS ran alone in the elections of 1990, 1991 and 1994, it's true. It did so with a varying degree of success: in 1990, it got 6%; expanding on its ethnically Turkish base into the electorate of Bulgarian Muslims (Pomaks), it got 7,6% in 1991. In 1994, its share dropped to 5,4%.
But in the 1997 mass protests against the ex-communists running the government (and the country into the ground), it faced the choice of whether or not to join the newly forged alliance of all major opposition groups, the ODS (Movement of Democratic Forces), which was dominated by the anti-communist SDS. It decided in the end not to, but it did instead set up its own, inter-ethnic, alternative opposition coalition: the Alliance of National Salvation (ONS).
One good reason for this was that in the preceding years of harsh economic crisis, many Bulgarian Turks had crossed the border into Turkey. Considering the DPS had already dropped close to the electoral threshold, this was a threat to the party's survival.
Apart from the DPS, this Alliance included the Nikola Petkov Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (the anti-communist peasants party (re)established after '89 as an alternative to the regular BANU, which had been a so-called 'bloc party' during communism); the Green Party; the liberal party New Choice (Dimitar Ludzhev's party), the royalist Kingdom of Bulgaria Federation; and the Democratic Center Party. Basically, a rather odd (because very wide-flung) combination of rather minor centrist and rightwing opposition parties that for one reason or another wouldn't join the ODS. Apart from the DPS none of these parties had ever crossed the electoral threshold on its own.
There must have been some cross-ethnic appeal to this Alliance, because it was this ONS that stood in the elections of 1997, and it got a generous 7,6%.
After the elections, the alliance fell apart. The DPS then instead forged an ideologically somewhat more coherent union, and that
was the Liberal Democratic Union (LDS) I wrote about above. Apart from the DPS it included New Choice and only two further parties, the minute Free Radical Democratic Party and Liberal Democratic Alternative.
Casting doubt on the extra value added by the inter-ethnic coalition partners of the ONS in '97, however, the DPS repeated that year's performance in 2001, once more getting 7,5% even though it stood on its own that time.
Amazingly, in this year's parliamentary elections it is reported to have gotten 12.7%. Any information on that is welcome - I didnt follow Bulgarian politics anymore the last few years, and that's quite a breakthrough.