Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections: Notebook, May 19

Written by on May 19, 2014 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections: Notebook, May 19

If the government was a television show, its ratings would mean that it would be cancelled, Reformist Bloc ticket leader Meglena Kouneva said, delivering one of the very few witty zingers in Bulgaria’s otherwise dreary and crudely abusive European Parliament elections campaign.

That line from Kouneva has earned her a place in The Sofia Globe’s election campaign notebook, even though it is unclear whether on May 25 Bulgaria’s voters will hand her a place in the European Parliament.

A few other notebook entries:

* I saw a BSP election video in which I was boxing with (Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergei) Stanishev, and I stopped to watch, GERB leader Boiko Borissov said.

“I do not want to box with Stanishev,” said the leader of Bulgaria’s largest centre-right party and former prime minister, who said in a television interview that he would rather be working.

“I cannot explain this rage, this anger, these parody videos,” said Borissov. “I expect to work, work and work again…our goal is for Bulgaria to become like a Central European country. We cannot become Switzerland or Austria, our goal is to be like the Czech Republic and Hungary.”

* Conservatives are the status quo of the past and a new Europe is needed, which can happen through political change, BSP leader Sergei Stanishev said in a television interview.

These elections were important for Europe, he said. “Europe has lost the confidence of the people, not only in Bulgaria, but everywhere.”

According to Stanishev, this was because, for five years, European institutions have been dominated by the centre-right European People’s Party, as have the European Commission and European Parliament, and the EPP has a Europe-wide policy limited to the word “restrictions”.

* Nikolai Barekov, the former television talk show host around whom the Bulgaria Without Censorship coalition has been formed, has named his choice for caretaker prime minister – Vice President Margarita Popova.

Popova, running mate in the 2011 presidential elections with victor Rossen Plevneliev, has given interviews in recent weeks and months with what have been seen as sideswipes at the head of state, who is a popular target for attack by all parties opposed to GERB, on whose ticket Plevneliev was elected.

Barekov again returned to his theme that the outcome of Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections would lead to the resignation of the current government, and said that Popova would be a good choice as interim prime minister. “That way she would be able to get rid of her undesired cohabitation with President Rossen Plevneliev,” Barekov said.

* Ivailo Kalfin, the former foreign minister who currently heads the election candidate list of Georgi Purvanov’s ABC, said that the European Union cannot be extended indefinitely, to reach the goal of every country around Russia being a member of the EU.

Kalfin said that the EU should strive to improve its economic relations with countries outside the EU.

He said that ABC is the only political formation that was trying to steer the election debate on to European issues rather than domestic quarrels. The election campaign was running on false premises, with discussions on domestic issues, with no election programmes or commitments to voters, without debates and with fake candidate lists “where many of the list leaders say they will go or not go (to the EP, if elected) or will go, but only for a short while”.

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