The Central Election Commission has rejected a claim by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has violated election campaign rules, commission spokesperson Alexander Andreev told reporters on May 10.
Andreev was speaking a few days after Kornelia Ninova’s opposition BSP lodged complaints with the Central Election Commission and the Council for Electronic Media, the regulator of the broadcast media, alleging that Borissov had been using state resources to campaign.
Borissov’s GERB and the BSP are in a tight race ahead of Bulgaria’s May 26 2019 European Parliament elections, with the difference in voter support for the two parties within the statistical margin of error, going by opinion polls.
The BSP complaint failed to make it clear just what the basis of their allegations was, but Borissov responded that if they were talking about him meeting the Pope, this was a gross misinterpretation.
Soon after the BSP lodged its complaint, President Roumen Radev – elected head of state on a BSP-backed ticket and a regular critic of Borissov’s government – said: “I do not think there should be an election campaign with money from the state budget”.
The BSP had called on the CEC to order Borissov to take leave of absence as Prime Minister while heading his GERB party’s campaign headquarters, or to step down as head of GERB’s campaign headquarters.
Borissov is not head of GERB’s campaign headquarters. That post is occupied by Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
On May 9, Borissov said that Radev’s statements all were to the benefit of the opposition. “I have to hear from colleagues in GERB whether to ask the CEC to ban him (Radev) from campaigning.”
Andreev said that the CEC had examined the BSP complaint and decided that Borissov had not broken any campaign rules.
He said that the commission had not received any approach from GERB about Radev, and if it did, the CEC would consider the matter and issue a ruling.
“Do not ask the CEC to enter into any debate between the institutions,” Andreev said.