In Bulgaria, a third vote for an end to the political and health crisis

This is the third election of the year. After the failure of the two previous votes, in April and July, for lack of a coalition agreement between the parties, will this time be the right one? “I hope that the political leaders have learned the lesson and that this will push them to negotiate”, comments Antony Todorov, professor at the New Bulgarian University.

Offices opened at 7 a.m. (6 a.m. KST) on Sunday and will close at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. KST), when exit estimates will be released. “We all have to vote but I’m afraid it will be in vain”, confided Milena Stoyanova, a 62-year-old retiree, on the eve of the election in the streets of the capital, Sofia, summing up general skepticism, even though others said their ” hope “ of a ” better future “.

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Thirst for “alternation”

The formation of an executive is “Of the most vital importance”, pleads Kiril Petkov, former Minister of the Economy and one of the headliners of the poll, in unison with the other parties. “We cannot not have a government”, Judge Boriana Dimitrova, director of the Alpha Research polling institute, first of all invoking the need to manage the health crisis as quickly as possible, because the interim cabinet appears powerless in the face of the deteriorating situation.

Hospitals are overwhelmed and nearly 200 people die from Covid-19 every day, in this Balkan country where less than a quarter of the 6.9 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated. The death rate there is one of the highest in the world.

“In society, there is the feeling of a chaotic situation”, underlines the Pr Todorov. The conservative party GERB, of ex-prime minister Boyko Borissov, “In fact plays very well”, putting up election posters in the city “Against disorder”. It is this message and its “Local basis”, relying on the “Patronage”, which probably explain its first place in the polls (with 24% of the vote), according to the political scientist.

But Mr. Borissov, accused of corruption by detractors, is now on trial “Infrequent” and, in the opinion of experts, it is unlikely that his party will manage to return to power. There is a thirst “Alternation”, assure Mme Dimitrova, “People are therefore inclined to vote for the parties for change that they deem capable of forming a government”.

Centrist Kiril Petkov, former acting economy minister, slips his ballot into a ballot box for the presidential and parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, in Sofia, on November 14, 2021.

Socialists and centrists ready for a “compromise”

In a Parliament that promises to be fragmented again, with no less than 27 parties standing for election, opinion polls place two newcomers in a good position, who stand out in the Bulgarian political landscape: Mr Petkov and his sidekick, Assen Vassilev, met on the banks of Harvard.

These 40-year-old entrepreneurs have shaken up the race by launching a centrist movement in September, Let’s continue the change. Their objective : “Eradicate corruption”, in this country last in the ranking on the subject within the European Union. Estimates place them neck and neck with the Socialists, with 16% of the vote.

The two men said they were ready to “Compromise” to put an end to this unprecedented political crisis since the end of the communist regime. “They are very enthusiastic”, but have little experience, warns Mme Dimitrova, who predicts a coalition « instable » because of the differences among the parties of change.

Along with the legislative elections, the Bulgarians also elect their president on Sunday. Roumen Radev, candidate for his succession, is the favorite, even if he will probably have to wait for the second round, scheduled for November 21, to win against the rector of the University of Sofia, Anastas Gerdjikov, supported by the GERB.

New to politics when he won the presidential election in 2016 with the backing of the Socialists, Mr Radev, a former fighter pilot and head of the armed forces, is “Become a figure symbolizing the opposition to Boïko Borissov” and corrupt practices, recalls Antony Todorov. On the eve of the elections, the president had urged Bulgarians to turn out in large numbers to the polls. “The mafia is counting on the apathy of society”, at-il having you.

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In Bulgaria, a third vote for an end to the political and health crisis