Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections: Notebook, May 7
The planned flypast by Bulgarian Air Force aircraft on May 6 was cancelled because of bad weather, but amid European Parliament election campaign season, there could soon be enough hot air around to launch a thousand balloons.
Some of the latest notes from The Sofia Globe’s election notebook:
* Boiko Borissov, leader of centre-right GERB, seems a bit obsessed about the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s television adverts, which depict his party losing at everything from chess to boxing. On May 7, Borissov complained about them yet again: “The state is slowly and steadily heading towards default, while the video ads of the BSP, with their ridiculous manifestations, are being aired on TV”.
Commenting on the bankruptcy of Bulgarian state railways BDZ, Borisov said: “They are very nice (the BSP election campaign ads), but unfortunately the state is falling apart and next year the Bulgarians will be very sorry”.
* Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Lyutvi Mestan said that there were two kinds of political parties in Bulgaria, those of empty promises and those that kept to their commitments. Mestan said that he was proud to be leader of the MRF, a party that kept its promises.
“We promised to orientate policy towards small regions, to small business, to small people. And we honoured this commitment that we assumed,” he said.
“I now assume one more commitment: the MRF representatives in the European Parliament will turn Europe’s eyes to the small regions, to small people, so that Europe could reach every corner of Bulgaria one and whole,” the MRF leader said.
* BSP leader Sergei Stanishev said that no one should seek to gain political dividends from the establishment of a European Energy Union.
Stanishev was responding to statements by President Rossen Plevneliev on May 6. The BSP leader said that since the 2009 gas supply crisis, practically nothing had been done about energy diversity, and he criticised the European People’s Party for the European Parliament vote on events in Ukraine and Russia which called for the South Stream project not to be built.
Stanishev described this vote was “outrageous”, saying that Bulgaria would end up being punished through such a measure. “If you want to punish Russia, why not stop Nord Stream? Why should we pay for a foreign conflict?”
* Nikolai Barekov, leader of Bulgaria Without Censorship (BWC) said that his party would take “much of the patriotic vote” and most who had voted for Ataka would now go to BWC.
“We do not go drunk and drugged to fight in restaurants, but instead we work for the Bulgarian people,” said Barekov, referring to a recent alleged incident involving Ataka leader Volen Siderov.
Barekov said that many police would vote BWC because of the party’s promise to increase their salaries by 25 per cent.
He criticised what he called the populism of the BSP. The BSP had been in power for a year and had done nothing to fulfil its promises to increase pensions and abolish the flat tax system, Barekov said.
* The anti-government Protest Network, not a contestant in the election, filed a complaint to the Central Election Commission against Ataka for allegedly violating electoral law through the display of stickers on billboards for the ultra-nationalist party’s mouthpiece Alfa television station. The Protest Network said that the law required that all campaign materials must include a notice, “buying and selling of votes is a crime” which, the network said, “intentionally or not” was not done in the case of the Alfa billboards.