Bulgaria’s GERB leader Borissov speaks on Ombudsman’s candidacy for Sofia mayor
Bulgarian Prime Minister and GERB party leader Boiko Borissov says that he has no regrets about the support he has given over the years to Maya Manolova, the country’s Ombudsman who is to resign her office to stand as a candidate for mayor of Sofia in the autumn 2019 local elections.
The mayoral elections in Sofia are likely to come down to a contest between Manolova and incumbent Yordanka Fandukova, a deputy leader of GERB, three times elected Sofia mayor.
Fandukova confirmed on September 2 that she would seek a further term as mayor. Confirmation from Manolova followed hours later.
Borissov, speaking at a news conference at GERB headquarters on September 3, said that he did not regret having supported Manolova over the years, in spite of the criticism that he had received from his party about this.
Manolova, formerly an MP for the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was elected Ombudsman by Parliament in 2015 with the backing of GERB.
Borissov said that there was probably no one who had helped Manolova more than he, and he had helped Manolova more than he had helped Fandukova.
Manolova had often met him and members of the government at the Cabinet office, he said.
Borissov referred to the “Kostinbrod affair”, which involved allegations on the eve of the 2013 early parliamentary elections that GERB was to attempt ballot-stuffing. Manolova, who went on to become Deputy Speaker in the 2013/2014 “Oresharski” administration, was among key figures in speaking on the allegations.
GERB had wanted revenge, but he had not allowed this, Borissov said. “Precisely the opposite. I said ‘we need that kind of person as the Ombudsman’. And we worked fine with her as Ombudsman of the republic”.
“I supported her, the laws, everything she wanted. Now she has decided to be mayor. GERB disagreed, and GERB made her the Ombudsman. Fandukova has a right to be cross with me, that she came to me less and I helped her less,” Borissov said.
He said that he had been angry with Manolova only once, when she had spoken of “repression by the state”.
Borissov challenged journalists, saying that Manolova’s candidacy in the Sofia mayoral elections was no surprise and it had long been clear that she would enter the race. “Don’t you understand?” he said.
He expressed hope that Manolova and Fandukova would conduct proper campaigns as “both are clever”.
Borissov urged the Bulgarian Socialist Party to participate in the battle and not “hide” behind the Manolova candidacy.
(Photo of Borissov: government.bg)