Valeri Simeonov, one of the co-leaders of the United Patriots coalition of nationalist parties in Bulgaria’s March 26 2017 parliamentary elections, admitted he was disappointed by the bloc’s showing, but still hoped to overtake the predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms as the third-largest party in the next Parliament.
Exit polls on election night gave the coalition fewer than the 30 MPs that its constituent parties had in the previous National Assembly.
But Simeonov praised the coalition’s supporters who blocked border checkpoints with Turkey throughout the last week before election day in a bid to prevent buses and cars coming into Bulgaria, bringing people to vote in the parliamentary elections.
“We succeeded in stopping quite a few buses at the border with our protests, but we did not do it for the [electoral] percentages,” Simeonov said. He said he was proud to have contributed to the chaos in voting precincts in Turkey, where voters were required to submit declarations that they will vote nowhere else.
Speaking to private broadcaster Nova Televizia, Simeonov said that such “illiterate voters” – a reference to claims made in recent days that some voters had lived outside Bulgaria for so long they had difficulty writing in Bulgarian – did not have the right to “decide our future”.
Asked about any preference for government coalition talks after the election, Simeonov said that the United Patriots would emphasise implementation of as many of the provisions in its electoral manifesto, which included a commitment to raise pensions, fight petty crime, reducing electricity prices and continuing reforms in the education and health care sectors.
A timeline of key political events in Bulgaria from 2007 to 2017 is available on The Sofia Globe’s special page.
The Sofia Globe election factfile about Bulgaria’s March 2017 vote is online here.
German-language coverage of the elections is on The Sofia Globe Deutsch page.