Building a Political Party from a Civil Movement: Lessons from Bulgaria’s Party SaveSofia
On 15 January, one of Bulgaria’s most active civil organisations, SaveSofia (SpasiSofia), became a political party with an ambitious programme for the forthcoming fall local elections. The new party’s leader Boris Bonev is currently a member of the municipality council of Sofia. Bonev ran for mayor and municipal councillor in 2019, and came in 4th in the mayoral election with around 10,77% of the popular vote but was successful in his bid for municipal councillor.
The civil movement started as an initiative lobbying for Sofia’s third metro line and evolved into the civil society organisation SaveSofia in 2015. Eight years of citizen activism and volunteer engagements later, SaveSofia has become a political party.