Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, seeking a fourth term in Bulgaria’s autumn 2019 local elections, said that she sees the challenge from Maya Manolova as serious “but in no case can I speak of fear”.
Fandukova was speaking in a television interview on September 3, a day after she confirmed her candidacy, an announcement which was followed hours later by Manolova saying she would resign the office of national Ombudsman to stand as a candidate to be mayor of Sofia.
It had long been clear that Manolova would stand in the Sofia mayoral elections and that the Bulgarian Socialist Party would support her, Fandukova said.
She likened the situation to the election of Roumen Radev as President in 2016. Radev stood, not as a BSP candidate, but on a ticket backed by the BSP. In a second-round election, he defeated the GERB candidate.
Fandukova said that she was ready for a debate with Manolova, as well as the candidate of the reformist Democratic Bulgaria, architect Borislav Ignatov.
Ignatov also was a serious candidate and someone who “has something to present to the people”.
“I have worked with him and I know that he can work with him in the future,” Fandukova said.
She said that she could not comment on the personalities in the race, only ideas and projects for Sofia.
Fandukova said that her decision to stand had not been taken overnight, but had been well thought through and had been taken after speaking with her family, and it had been her decision, not that of Boiko Borissov, Prime Minister and leader of the GERB party of which Fandukova is a deputy leader.
“I have received the support of all GERB structures in Sofia, the executive committee and the Prime Minister, but this decision is personal, the result of preparation and willingness to continue working for Sofia,” Fandukova said.
She said that her motives for joining the battle for a new term arose from her commitment to the city’s development, new projects, new ideas and attracting new people. Fandukova indicated that the candidate list for the Sofia municipal elections would see new faces – including “leading experts, as well as young people” – nominated for her team.
(Photo montage: Manolova, left, and Fandukova)