The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

Second Russian nuclear power plant could unite the future government coalition

13 May 2013 / 16:05:57  GRReporter
3959 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Four parties have entered the Bulgarian parliament after the early elections, which the country held yesterday. According to the most recent data and to 96.1% of the protocols processed, the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party wins 30.7% of the votes, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) - 27.02%, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) - 10.59% and the Attack party - 7.3%.

After these results, many commentators predict political instability, a weak government and early elections. GRReporter has contacted journalist Ivan Bedrov for a comment.

Mr. Bedrov, did the election results surprise you in any way?

No, they didn’t . The results of these elections were not surprising not only to me. They did not surprise anyone. The general impression after last night is that nothing has happened. This is very strange, because I have been observing a lot of elections and I have been almost every time at the international press centre at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, where there have always been expectations of any news, there has always been an "intrigue", as we, journalists, say. However, everything was predetermined last night. It is as if nothing has happened. But the important question is why we needed this.

How would you comment on the results and what is the reason for them?

There was a unique campaign for one month. I know that this word is a cliché, but in this case, it is correct. There has never been such a campaign. It was marked with many scandals and, as it turns out, with successful attempts to convince the voters not to go to the polling stations. In fact, we see that we had parliamentary elections in which half of the Bulgarians voted. This is not unprecedented for local elections but there has never been such a low participation in parliamentary elections.

At the same time, the major political parties had mobilized their structures and organizations, their hard electorate as it is called, and achieved some results with which they can be neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. They just achieved what we all know they can achieve.

The comparison to last year's two election races in Greece is inevitable. Greek politicians needed two rounds to understand that they need to form a coalition. And the government composed is doing very good job, especially compared to the previous one-party governments. The vote of the Bulgarian voters makes it clear that they want a coalition between GERB and the BSP. Do you think that this will happen?
I do not think that the voters want a coalition between GERB and the BSP because the polarization has been increasing over the past few months. Actually, the end result is that we have no clear dominance of one political force, although GERB is the first party, but there is an increase in the results of the two political parties in comparison with the period 2-3 months ago. So, we have this polarization, we have very sharp relations in the public speech. A coalition between the two parties is impossible at present. And part of the electorate of one side as well as of the other will not accept it either.

As for drawing a parallel with Greece, I would not agree that there is something in common. Some politicians have promoted the idea of a programme government in Bulgaria and analysts immediately think of Italy or Greece.

The difference is that there was a clear set of urgent short-term measures and reforms to be carried out in Greece. They were precisely specified even outside Greece.

The situation in Bulgaria is different. There is no clear set of measures to be implemented. The situation is normal. Someone needs to obtain political confidence to run the country. Currently, however, we are drifting towards instability. Even if a broad government including the BSP, the MRF and the Attack party is formed, strange as it may sound, it cannot be very stable. And what we can see behind it, that is common between these three parties, is the desire for the construction of a Russian nuclear power plant in the town of Belene.

What do you see happening in Bulgaria?

What I see is that GERB is in complete isolation and it is their fault. We cannot blame only the conspiracy, the rest, the Russian interests, etc. It is very hard for them to convince someone to give them additional votes or to take the risk of forming a minority government. Obviously, things are going pretty well in the BSP - MRF axis and probably the Attack party. Last night, the head of the BSP Sergey Stanishev said that he would begin negotiations with the two parties. My prediction is that it is more likely that a government involving these parties be formed.

However, there are some other options, namely that this will not happen or that if it happens it will last for a very short time because the protests in the country have continued. That means either new elections or long instability. And only those oligarchs who want to divert Bulgaria from the western path of development, rule of law, market economy and membership of NATO and the European Union will benefit from this.

Why do you think the right wing has remained outside the parliament? Why did it fail to unite before the elections and would it have been able to enter parliament if it had united?

Even if they were together and had entered parliament, it would not change anything. The voters are tired of the agony they have been experiencing for more than 10 years already. The major question cannot be whether they will enter parliament or not. The meaning of the existence of political parties is to provide solutions. So, sooner or later, this should have happened, although all claim in the specific situation that it would be better if they had entered the 42nd National Assembly.

But now, the ground is clear. This may be the good news. It is because, more or less, there are four branches of the Bulgarian Communist Party in the Bulgarian parliament at present. The majority of educated, urban, Western-minded people in Bulgaria do not see their representative in this parliament. We have in it former members of the Bulgarian Communist Party, who were part of the lower level service staff - drivers, militiamen and others, who are part of GERB at present. We have successors to the nomenclature, who are part of the BSP. We have some crypto communists, Slavophiles and nationalists, such as in the Attack party and the MRF, for which sufficient documentation has appeared and we all know how it was established.

So, do you think that some reformist forces will “pop up” after the clearing in Bulgaria to take up the reins at a certain point?

They cannot pop up, but the people who need such representation can achieve this. Of course, it all depends on whether there will be specific individuals at the specific place to make sufficient effort.

But I am saying it again – now the ground is clear. Whereas before, this 22-year history prevented any attempt to create such a new formation. For example, one was with Ivan Kostov, another with Nadezhda Neinski, they had a quarrel and then, they reconciled. Many people are really tired of this Latin series and the result was predetermined.

Were the elections free and fair? Was the public opinion manipulated and how much?

I understand this question in two parts. On the one hand, from a purely technological point of view as regards the carrying out of the elections and the counting of the ballots, there are numerous reports of violations.

But even if we assume that in many places there were even fake ballots, remaking of protocols, buying of votes, the rate of the manipulated vote could not be so high as to change the whole picture. Of course, when the activity is low, the manipulated vote proves quite decisive.

The major problem in my opinion is that there was no real campaign. That the environment was poisoned, that the people did not really understand what the parties offered, that the scandals, which had started 2-3 months before the elections, actually “jammed” the information flow and there was no room for the reasonable offers.

I am saying this because you asked me about the traditional right wing. The party of former European commissioner Meglena Kuneva and former Prime Minister Ivan Kostov had very specific proposals which the representatives of small- and medium-sized businesses would like to hear for certain and expected someone to offer similar solutions. However, they did not hear them because they could not do so during the scandals.

Tags: PoliticsElectionsBulgariaRuling coalitionRight wingReformist partyRussion nuclear popwer plant
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus