Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party says that it expects a dirty tricks stunt to be mounted to damage its prospects ahead of the November 3 second round of mayoral elections.
GERB executive committee member, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, told a news conference on October 30 that the party had evidence of “more serious upcoming attempts” to compromise the run-off elections.
This would involve attempts to portray the election process as corrupt, he said. Donchev declined to specify precisely what evidence the party had, but cited it as being “inside information”.
He likened this to the “Kostinbrod affair” of 2013.
The “Kostinbrod affair” involved a live broadcast on a cable television channel of allegations of ballot fraud against GERB, on the “day of contemplation” on the eve of the 2013 early parliamentary elections. On a “day of contemplation”, campaigning is illegal.
A subsequent court case found no substance to the allegations, but the damage had been done. The “Kostinbrod affair” is seen as having hit GERB hard in those elections, sending Borissov’s party into opposition for the duration of the 2013/14 “Oresharski” administration.
The October 30 news conference was presented with figures on GERB’s performance at the October 27 mayoral and municipal vote, that while at the 2011 elections, GERB won 25 municipalities at the first round, rising to 65 in the 2015 local elections, in October 2019 the figure was 91.
GERB now had 1807 municipal councillors across Bulgaria, 80 more than in 2015.
GERB conceded, however, that it had seen a decline in its performance in the capital cities of the districts.
Borissov’s party sees itself as having won a definite victory over the BSP in the October 27 council elections, at a ratio of two to one. GERB won mayoral elections in 91 municipalities at the first round, and won majorities in municipal councils in 163 out of 265 municipalities.
“In how many regional centres (meaning, the capital cities of Bulgaria’s 28 districts) is the BSP the first political force in the vote for municipal councillors? I will give you the answer – none,” said Tsvetomir Paunov of GERB’s election headquarters.
(Photo of Donchev: government.bg)