It’s a little surprise. A new anti-corruption movement, launched by a duo of forty-year-old entrepreneurs trained in the United States, took the lead on Sunday, November 14, during the third legislative elections of the year, according to polling institutes.
By winning 26% of the vote, the Continue the Change party is almost on a par with the conservative GERB party, led by former Prime Minister Boïko Borissov (23% of the vote), which was initially given the winner. These results would therefore leave the field open to Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev, who embarked on the conquest of power in September with a few months’ experience as ministers in an interim cabinet.
“Bulgaria is taking a new path”, welcomed Mr. Petkov, appeared all smiles in front of a swarm of photographers and cameras.
Mr. Petkov and his sidekick Assen Vassilev, met on the Harvard benches, stand out in the Bulgarian political landscape. Their objective : “Eradicate corruption”, in this country last in the ranking within the European Union. The two men said they were ready to “Compromise” and “Very open to dialogue” to build a coalition. “Left, center or right, it doesn’t matter”, assure Kiril Petkov. “If we can stop” Corruption “And redistribute the money for the welfare of taxpayers, then we should be able to get along with many parties”.
Around 40% participation
Anti-system singer Slavi, who pulled off a victory in the previous poll in July before failing to form a government, plummeted 24% to less than 10% of the vote.
Bulgaria has already voted twice, in April and then in July 2021, ending a decade in power for Mr Borisov, weakened by massive protests last year. However, the various so-called “change” parties have so far failed to unite to gain power.
Many Bulgarians did not even come: the turnout was estimated at around 40%. In unison, the various political leaders expressed their determination to break the deadlock unprecedented since the end of the communist regime. “Bulgaria needs a government that functions normally”, pleaded Kiril Petkov after having voted in the capital.
Among the urgent subjects to be dealt with, the management of the health crisis. Because the interim cabinet appears powerless in the face of the deterioration of the situation.
Roumen Radev in the lead
The Bulgarians also elected their president on Sunday. Roumen Radev, candidate for his succession, leads the race at the end of the first round, with 49% of the vote, against 25% for his closest competitor, the rector of the University of Sofia, Anastas Gerdjikov, supported by the conservative GERB party.
The head of state, who became popular by supporting the anti-corruption rallies in the summer of 2020, should therefore easily win on November 21.
Mr Radev, Boyko Borissov’s sworn enemy, hailed the election results, a sign that “Society wants to break with corruption and arbitrariness”. Parliamentary parties now have “The imperative task of forming a reforming, anti-corruption and social government”, he urged.
These new elections took place in the middle of the fourth wave of Covid-19, in the least vaccinated country in the European Union. Hospitals are overwhelmed with sick people and nearly 200 people die 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, against a backdrop of the dilapidated health system.
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Elections in Bulgaria: a new anti-corruption movement at the head of the legislative elections