Sunday, August 1

Bulgaria returns to the polls with populism on the rise and fears that instability will continue


Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:

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Three months after the elections, Bulgaria repeats some generals that, according to the polls, will once again result in a fragmented parliament that will hardly allow the formation of a government. The conservative GERB party won those of April 4, but Boiko BorisovWith an image very worn by successive corruption scandals, it found no partners, while the opposition was not able to reach an agreement either. Now, the anti-establishment party of the TV star and singer Slavi Trifonov, of a populist tinge, could tie or even surpass the GERB with a percentage of around 20%, but it will also find it difficult to add support because it has built its electoral campaign around its strong refusal to associate with both ex-communist social democrats and the minority Turkish. It only considers Democratic Bulgaria, on the right, which could get another 20%, and the Stand Up! Party as options. Mafia out, on the left and that only has 5% in the polls.

“It is difficult to predict the results of these elections, we will do everything possible to attract the undecided and 20% say they will vote for us, that in any case represents a great advance for us”, says Hristo Ivanov, leader of Democratic Bulgaria and that he was Borisov’s minister between 2015 and 2015. He resigned after the failure of his judicial reform and has launched a crusade against corruption with his new party that reached its peak when he tried to assault the town of one of the most powerful politicians in Bulgaria, Ahmed Dogan, detained by his security personnel. “To achieve a stable government, we cannot rule out the possibility of holding third and fourth elections,” predicts Trifonov’s number two, for his part. Tochko Yorddanov.

Three newly formed parties emerged from the wave of anti-corruption demonstrations that flooded the streets of Sofia last year and have ended up fragmenting the political landscape to the point of making it practically inoperative. To try to evade electoral punishment, neither Borisov nor Trifonov stand as prime ministerial candidates for their respective parties, but no one escapes that will continue to direct both political formations from a second strategic row. The US has added fuel to the fire by announcing on June 2 economic sanctions against three Bulgarian citizens and their business network, for several cases of corruption. It is the first time that Washington has sanctioned citizens of an EU country.

Extortion and corruption

If Bulgaria has reached this situation of political paralysis it is because of a long series of extortion cases, illegal wiretapping, payment of prostitutes with official money and favors granted in exchange for grants of state credits impossible to enumerate in a reduced space. Many of these scandals point to Borisov and his center-right GERB party, which has ruled Bulgaria since 2009 and won the April elections with 25.8% of the vote. One of the most striking triggers of the protests were the photos published in June 2020 in which Borisov appeared half naked in bed, with a gun, wads of banknotes and gold bars everywhere. He accused his political rivals of having set him up and manipulated the image, although he acknowledged its authenticity. He confessed that he had fallen into the arms of “a beautiful lady who visited me and who acted like a Mata Hari.”

The acting government that has run the country Since the April elections, he has deepened the furrow of citizen mistrust because he has continued to publicize new scandals and cases of corruption, to the point that the current Prime Minister, Stefan Yanev, a former general at the head of a government of technocrats, He has described the situation he encountered upon arrival as “complete chaos.” “We are in a situation of general discredit of the traditional parties without the voters fully trusting the new political formations either. The last three months have widened that gap between public trust and political leaders and we really do not know what the Bulgarian electorate wants ”, analyzes the director of the Center for Analysis and Marketing in Sofia. Julius Pavloff.

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