January 17, 2011
The supporters of Boyko Borissov in Bulgaria are a bit short of arguments these days. But this is what they say to support the Prime Minister, as the wiretap scandal unfolds:
1. Yes, Borissov may be seen as someone from the underground, but in a country so corrupted by the mafia, only someone like him can make things change for the better. Borissov may even have said what the tapes say, but he is still the best person to lead Bulgaria.
2. The mafia strikes at Borissov because it feels threatened by his reforms. In particular, the mafia would like to get rid of him, so that projects such as South Stream pipeline or Belene nuclear power plant would see the light. (Apparently, the ‘Russian connection’ appears here. In contrast, Borissov is presented by his supporters as a promoter of EU and Western interests.)
3. There is no alternative to Borissov anyway. If he goes down, there will be an interim government appointed by the President Georgi Parvanov, whom the supporters of Borissov consider as a protector of people from the former communist secret services. And after the elections, a coalition government similar to the previous one between Stanishev (Socialist), Dogan (Turkish minority) and Simeon (opportunists), would be a bad thing for Bulgaria, Borissov supporters say.
And this is what those critical of Borissov say:
1. The leaked wiretapes are only the tip of the iceberg. Borissov has been building a police state in which wiretapes of political opponents are his main political instrument. Bulgaria is sliding toward neo-fascism and there is a risk that the country would be asked to leave the European Union.
2. Borissov is himself increasingly friendly to South Stream and only pretends to be against Belene. Which means that the powerful economic players, such as the mysterious TIM economic group, close to Russian capitals, have the upper hand.
3. The main opposition, the Socialists, are still weak following the 2009 elections and no alternative government is conceivable except a wide coalition with a clear and detailed program for the future of the country. If the previous coalition has been unsuccessful, it is largely because its only ‘program’ was a formula dividing all the bonuses generated by power (according to the formula 3-5-8: three for the party of Simeon, five for Dogan, eight for the Socialists, according to the election results). A coalition with a real program and a strong European bond would be credible.Georgi Gotev