Reuniting Europe

What future for Bulgaria?

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.

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  1. As to the first 3 points, you are quite right. The first and second critical ones are only suspicions, the third one gives no answer: where is such a wunderful kind of coaliton?

    In general: Do you realiy believe that a man with such a “colurful”past as Borisov would talk such a nonsense on an unprotected telefon line?
    Klaus Schrameyer

  2. Dear Klaus, I moved your comment which you had posted in the wrong box. I will try to answer your difficult question.
    Bulgarian parties are strange. The Socialists are in fact conservative. These days the Socialists may appear to have common positions with the Blue coalition, the remains from the former anti-communist movements. There are many good socialists and good ‘blue’ politicians, but it’s true that the ratings of their parties are poor. And many Bulgarians do not feel represented by any political party, many do not vote and are disappointed by political projects such as Simeon’s party and more recently, GERB.
    At the same time, the authority and prestige of the European institutions is undisputed. Many Bulgarians would like to see Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva as president. Although some say that constitutionally she is illegible, because she hasn’t been living in the country during the last five years. Early elections under a president like Kristalina Georgieva would see a take-care cabinet appointed by her. And if it wins the confidence of the Bulgarians, it will not be difficult to maintain it for the longer term.
    But this is wishful thinking…

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