Boiko Borissov, the former bodyguard, firefighter, chief secretary and mayor, was Prime Minister twice, so far. He should be given credit for his pro-European position and his performance in national crises, such as the one in Hitrino or in the snow, but not for his many mistakes.
Borissov did not stand up when his unofficial partners of the far-right party Ataka kept on attacking minorities in Bulgaria – not just verbally. During the recent scandal in Harmanli, he did work on damage control, but failed to make those responsible who listened to the radicals and turned the refugee camp in that town into a prison last year, without a real reason, a move which triggered violent protests. Who was blamed? The refugees were.
He is responsible for the failure surrounding the two candidates for U.N. Secretary General Bulgaria sent into the race. Even worse: He contributed to watering down a reform of the justice system, which could have made a difference. And he picked a pale candidate for president, got offended by the big failure which followed, and resigned, causing yet another political crisis. Still he won big-time yesterday night.
Do Bulgarians love him so much that they would forgive him all of his mistakes? Or was it a lack of alternatives?
There was a serious, progressive alternative, which probably will not make the 4 percent hurdle, even though it was strong in Sofia and might have gotten more than 20 percent in some Bulgarian expat communities abroad: “Yes, Bulgaria!”. The country did not listen to Hristo Ivanov closely enough.
In the case of Borissov, being rewarded for mistakes is one thing. But being willing to team up with far-right forces yet again, the “United Patriots”, whose radical positions towards minorities and refugees are being hidden behind harmless demands for higher pensions, is the biggest scandal of them all. So is the fact that 81 former state security people were candidates for parliament when the campaign started, and hardly anyone cared.
By Imanuel Marcus