A weekend of politics as registration for Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections continues

With seven weeks to go to Bulgaria’s May 26 2019 European Parliament elections, political parties and coalitions used the process of registration with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to try to drum up interest in themselves.

The weekend opened on April 6 with the reformist Democratic Bulgaria, seen in polls as possibly having a chance of winning one of Bulgaria’s 17 seats in the European Parliament, submitting to the CEC application documents with double the number of signatures required for registration.

Democratic Bulgaria, formed around former justice minister Hristo Ivanov and whose ticket is headed by Radan Kanev, has chosen “Bulgaria can do much more in a strong Europe” as its campaign slogan.

“Democratic Bulgaria has been on the political scene for less than a year, but has already managed to firmly establish itself as the fourth political force in the country and continues to increase its support among voters, according to recent polls,” the coalition said.

The Democratic Bulgaria delegation outside the CEC office in Sofia on April 6. Photo: Democratic Bulgaria

It said that since getting together, it had made clear “that only the courage and unity of the democratic community can break the deadlock represented as ‘stability’, and remove the barriers to the unleashing of the nation’s potential.”

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party, which is standing together with the extra-parliamentary Union of Democratic Forces, had already registered before the weekend, but its campaign stunt was to unveil its campaign slogan on April 7.

GERB campaign chief Tsvetan Tsvetanov at the podium as the party, which has included two UDF candidates on its list, launches its campaign slogan on April 7. Photo: GERB

The slogan is “Europe hears us”.

Apart from the UDF, and the extra-parliamentary United Agrarians, with which it signed an election campaign agreement a few days ago, GERB appears to be poised to add to its mantlepiece collection of tiny parties, going by statements at the April 7 event.

Campaign chief, GERB deputy leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that on April 14, GERB would present its election platform for the European Parliament vote.

Technically, the official campaign period for Bulgaria’s European Parliament opens on April 26, but before then, parties will continue to try to come up with something interesting to do on Sundays, or at weekends at least.

Also registering this weekend was the extra-parliamentary socialist breakaway ABC, formed by Georgi Purvanov and currently led by Roumen Petkov, which is continuing to annoy the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with its intention to stand in the elections under the “Coalition for Bulgaria” banner.

“Coalition for Bulgaria” was the name used for several years by the BSP parliamentary group, and in a succession of elections.

The BSP has accused ABC coalition of “theft” of a trademark which the BSP had used in elections between 1999 and 2014.

At the CEC for the registration, Petkov told journalists that he had the necessary proof of the registration of the “Coalition for Bulgaria” brand.

The CEC accepted the ABC’s documents, including a trademark certificate, but the process will end in a few days’ time because some documents were missing.

CEC spokesperson Alexander Andreev said that, as to the dispute over the use of the name, the commission would check the documents of both sides. There could be an issue if the name was that of a parliamentary group, and for it to be used, there must be consent from the holder of the rights to the name, he said.

Under current BSP leader Kornelia Ninova, the party has been using the name “BSP Leftist Bulgaria” for its parliamentary group.

As to the continually squabbling “United Patriots” – the grouping of ultra-nationalist parties that is the minority partner in the Borissov coalition government but which has not agreed on a common list for the May European Parliament elections – VMRO MEP Angel Dzhambazki said that his party did not rule out the “Patriotic Front” option for the elections.

The Patriotic Front was a formation made up of VMRO and Valeri Simeonov’s National Front for the Salvation for Bulgaria, which was around from 2014 to 2017, when it joined with Volen Siderov’s Ataka to form the United Patriots.

Unity only with Ataka would jeopardise the stability of Parliament and the government, Dzhambazki said, according to a report by Bulgarian National Radio.

On April 10, it would be clear whether the “patriots” would stand together in the European Parliament vote, said Dzhambazki, who was in Blagoevgrad for the “longest horo” initiative. The horo is a traditional Bulgarian circular dance.

(Main photo: Democratic Bulgaria)



The Sofia Globe staff

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