Issue 14

Les think tanks: nouveaux acteurs du politique, entre local et global

Un exemple bulgare

Page 47
Dostena Anguelova-Lavergne

Think tanks first appeared in Bulgarian civil society at the beginning of the democratic transition in the 1990s. As militant organizations they were deeply involved in the structuring of a new political space in the country. Although remaining outside the electoral framework they played the role of «watch-dogs» when liberal reforms were introduced acting as the people's voice, on the one hand, and as the representatives of Western will, on the other. Being financed almost exclusively by foreign donors the support they give to political parties, actors and causes depends on the policies designed to assist democracy-building. This article focuses on the Centre for Liberal Strategies and on the role it played in the setting up of the first primary presidential elections in 1996. It describes the way think tanks helped introduce political technologies aimed at democratizing the country. The author thus questions the representative legitimacy of what is being undertaken by these new political actors.