Plovdiv mayor Totev says he will not stand for a third term

Plovdiv mayor Ivan Totev told journalists on July 22 that he would not stand as a candidate for a third term in Bulgaria’s municipal elections to be held in October 2019.

Totev, also the leader of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party in Bulgaria’s second city, said: “I need a break after 12 years as a mayor, district mayor and regional governor. I will continue to work for the city, but now I feel burnt out”.

Totev twice narrowly won second-round victories in mayoral elections in Plovdiv.

Within the internal politics of GERB, he is seen as close to Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who in 2019 stepped down from all leadership posts in the party following controversies about his real estate acquisitions. Tsvetanov denies wrongdoing.

In Plovdiv, there have been controversies about various aspects of the running of the city, including projects linked to the city’s status as European Capital of Culture 2019, several still not ready seven months into the year.

Totev praised his own record, saying that he had managed to make Plovdiv “a platform where everyone could find a place – one could open a cafe in Kapana, another would develop a business elsewhere, another would arrive with a big company and take on 300 workers.”

He said that before taking a rest, he would work for continuity in the handover of power.

“Continuity must ensure four more successful years for the city. Because the trend, the direction we are in, is very, very good. You can tell the difference between Plovdiv and other cities. We are like sprinters. We have incredible occasions for pride in our city. Plovdiv citizens are proud of their city and this is thanks to the fact that it goes in the direction they want.”

However, this taken a lot of effort, “with many scandals, with many unpopular decisions to be taken throughout this eight-year period. I was not afraid of ever entering a fight, I was not afraid to stand against anyone when I believe that what I do is in the interest of the city,” Totev said.

In Plovdiv, names mentioned as likely to be the GERB candidate for mayor include the current regional governor, Zdravko Dimitrov, and former mayor and current nationalist MP Slavcho Atanassov. In spite of Totev’s struggles in winning his second-round victories, Plovdiv generally has been a stronghold for Borissov’s GERB.



The Sofia Globe staff

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