Bulgaria elections 2015: GERB and Reformist Bloc hail successes, BSP concedes defeat

Written by on November 1, 2015 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria elections 2015: GERB and Reformist Bloc hail successes, BSP concedes defeat

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party emerged from the second round of mayoral elections on November 1 proclaiming its high scores, but with Borissov clearly stung by the party’s loss in Pleven to its national coalition government partner the Reformist Bloc.

The Reformist Bloc described itself as having done “more than well” in the elections while also describing the mayoral and municipal votes as a win for the national coalition government and a reduction of the influence of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms in local government.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party, the largest opposition party in the National Assembly, conceded it had been defeated in the October 25-November 1 elections, which left it with no mayors in Bulgaria’s 10 largest cities and towns and hardly a scant few in other towns.

At a news conference on the night of November 1, at a point that clarity was still being awaited as to whether GERB had defeated the Patriotic Front in the second-round mayoral vote in Plovdiv, GERB deputy leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that the party had won 129 mayoral elections, including in 22 regional centres. He showed graphs illustrating the sharp rise in the party’s performance over the past three municipal elections.

Borissov dwelt on the theme of Pleven, where Georgi Spartanski, backed by the Reformist Bloc and the VMRO, defeated GERB mayoral candidate Dimitar Stoikov. Pleven is the seventh-largest city in Bulgaria and the only one in the top 10 largest cities not won by GERB.

He said that huge efforts had been made by GERB’s partners to defeat it in Pleven. He hit out at Naiden Zelenogorski, leader of one of the Reformist Bloc’s constituent parties, for alleging that GERB had been vote-buying in Pleven. Zelenogorski should prove his allegations or apologise, said Borissov.

Borissov said that the outcome of these elections showed that in the presidential elections (scheduled for autumn 2016) the GERB candidate would have very big chances. He indicated that he had no objection to Reformist Bloc co-leader Radan Kanev’s idea of holding primary elections for a joint presidential candidate.

Referring to Rossen Plevneliev, elected President of Bulgaria at the end of 2011 – and who under the constitution could be eligible for a second and final term as head of state – Borissov said, “we have a current President, to us he is alive and well. But the time will come when I will speak on this topic”.

In past months, Borissov has been opaque about who GERB’s candidate would be in 2016, some months ago saying that Bulgaria’s next President should be a woman – which Plevneliev quite plainly is not. Plevneliev, in turn, has made no clear public statement about whether he would want a second term.

Earlier, at a news conference at the coalition’s headquarters, the Reformist Bloc’s Kanev said that the bloc had performed “more than well” in the elections.

“Another positive assessment is that the coalition (government) wins these elections,” he said.

Kanev said that in Shoumen, Plovdiv, Lovech and Vidin, there were functioning rightist majorities in the municipal councils, involving GERB and the Reformist Bloc.

He hailed the “unique political breakthroug