Democracy and Civic Participation. Public Attitudes in Bulgaria in 2021-2022


Democracy in Bulgaria enjoys significant public support. The majority of citizens (56% in 2021 and 52% in 2022) agree that democracy is the best form of governance for the country – the highest levels of support for democracy recorded in a series of five opinion polls conducted since 2015. By comparison, in 2018, only 45% of respondents stated their support for democratic governance.

The surveys show the majority of the Bulgarian citizens are convinced that their fundamental political and civil rights are protected and they may freely exercise them within the existing democratic structure of the country. But they are dissatisfied with the way the democratic institutions function and the way the laws are written and enforced. Considerable parts of the population remain isolated from the civic life. They neither participate in the decision-making processes, nor feel represented in the bodies of the local and central authorities. Amongst the respondents in the survey there are dominant negative assessments of the efficiency of the government to solve the main national problems and widespread believes that the political and administrative elite is formed based on connections instead on merits.

These are some of the main findings summarized in a report of Open Society Institute – Sofia and the Center for Liberal Strategies about the public attitudes towards democracy, the rule of law and fundamental human rights in Bulgaria in 2021-2022. The report is based on the results of tow nationally representative public opinion surveys conducted in October 2021 and in June 2022.

Full text of the report Democracy and civic participation. Public Attitudes towards Democracy, the Rule of law and Fundamental Human Rights in 2021-2022. 

About the survey:

The report is based on data from two nationally rep­resentative public opinion surveys carried out in the period 16-23 October 2021 and 6-16 June 2022 respectively. The surveys were conducted among the adult population of the country using a direct stand­ardized tablet-interview method at the respondents’ homes. Respondents were selected using two-stage stratified sampling by region and type of locality, with quotas for sex, age and education. In each of the sur­veys, 1000 effective interviews were conducted. The maximum margin of error at 95% confidence level was ±3.1% for 50% share of the sample. The field research was conducted by Alpha Research polling agency un­der a project implemented and funded by the Open Society Institute – Sofia. The data were processed and analysed by Open Society Institute – Sofia in part­nership with the Center for Liberal Strategies.

The report also cites data from three previous na­tionally representative public opinion surveys conduct­ed and funded by Open Society Institute – Sofia in 2015, 2016 and 2018.