site.btaAsen Vassilev: Continue the Change Is Centrist, Not Rightist
Continue the Change is definitely a centrist party, not rightist, when it comes to how public money should be spent, the party's co-leader and former finance minister Asen Vassilev told Bulgarian National Radio on Sunday. He was replying to a question about what keeps Continue the Change from saying a simple "yes" to running in the October 2 early parliamentary elections on a single ticket with Democratic Bulgaria.
Vassilev explained that, as a centrist party, Continue the Change has borrowed from the right wing the assumption that taxes should not be changed and the flat tax should remain, while left-wing policies have influenced the party's very broad welfare programme. The programme includes raising teachers' incomes, increasing public spending on healthcare, making kindergarten attendance free of charge, providing free textbooks to school-goers and giving tax rebates to working parents.
Vassilev said that the Bulgarian Socialist Party has a more aggressive welfare programme which needs to be financed through much more aggressive taxation of individuals and businesses. "We want to keep the present taxes, and by boosting tax compliance and repairing financial leaks we will be able to invest in our welfare programme, which is precisely what 'centrist' means."
Asked how Continue the Change will stand in the elections, Vassilev said that the party will finalize its talks with Democratic Bulgaria on Monday or Tuesday, by which time it will become clear whether the two entities will stand on a single ticket or separately. He said Continue the Change is waiting for the results of another public opinion poll commissioned by the party, before wrapping up the talks and making a final decision.
He noted: "Our purpose at these elections is NOT to ensure that Continue the Change wins the most votes. Our purpose is to ensure that a majority of 121 MPs in the next National Assembly can clearly state that they will not work with Mr Borissov, will stop all thefts and will guard successfully against a possible Trojan horse. This is the purpose. The question is what is the best way to achieve this purpose." ("Mr Borissov" is a reference to three-time prime minister Boyko Borissov, whose party GERB is blamed by Continue the Change for multiple woes said to be plaguing the country.)