site.btaMedia Review: Oct. 3
OCTOBER 2 ELECTION
All media is focused on the results from the snap parliamentary elections that took place on Sunday. Seven parties got enough votes to enter parliament: GERB-UDF, Continue the Change (CC), the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), Vazrazhdane, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Democratic Bulgaria Alliance (DB), and Bulgarian Rise. Voter turnout was at a record low of around 40%, or about 5% lower than the previous elections.
Central Election Commission Spokesperson Tsvetozar Tomov, quoted by the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), told reporters that the final results from the parliamentary election will be announced by Thursday. "This is the parliamentary election with the lowest turnout of any held since 1990," Tomov added.
Political expert Daniel Peychev tells Telegraph that the obvious biggest loser after the election was There Is Such a People (TISP), whose electorate was disappointed with the behaviour of party leader Slavi Trifonov and his inability to communicate with his now former partners. Fewer people also voted for CC. According to Peychev, the BSP needs a reform and a new leader to rise from "the bottom". The expert points out the far-right party Vazrazhdane as the biggest winner from the election, as it won some 10% of the vote - double its previous result.
Political expert Slavi Vasilev tells Nova TV that Vazrazhdane's success can be explained with the electorate desire for Bulgarian neutrality in the war with Ukraine. Vasilev's peer Tsvetanka Andreeva believes that there are no real winners from this election, considering the record low voter turnout.
Duma's front page says that Bulgarian voter turnout abroad was high, unlike the one here. Most dailies write that some 100,000 people in the Republic of North Macedonia have the right to vote, as they own Bulgarian passports, however fewer than 200 submitted provisional applications to vote. Some of them shared that there was fear of retaliation from the local authorities against the voters.
According to Trud, many voters here chose to skip this election, because they distrust the voting machines. The daily speculates that new elections might be necessary as early as this spring. On the other hand, political expert Valentin Vatsev tells Trud that low turnout is not to blame on the machines. "Thirty years ago, Bulgarians were lied to by being told that high political engagement will improve their lives," Vatsev says. According to him, the Bulgarian people were forced to learn to solve their basic problems in non-political ways.
Duma writes that on Sunday, there were 69 violation alerts, which resulted in 77 arrests. According to bTV, this brings the total number of alerts to 720 since the start of the election campaign.
A bTV report says that more than 50,000 people cast their vote in Turkey, failing to reach the record high 90,000 from November 2021. The report warns of violations where members of the election commissions were helping the voters in a way that broke the vote confidentiality. In some cases, these members directly used the voting machine to cast the vote on behalf of the voter, if the voter was unable to read Bulgarian.
Telegraph quotes data from polling agencies, according to which GERB-UDF followed by the BSP are most popular among pensioners. Young voters on the other hand showed preference for CC, which was also the most popular party among university graduates. High-school graduates voted mostly for GERB-UDF, while the MRF was popular among voters with primary education.
24 Chasa writes about "three (im)possible scenarios" that were under discussion even prior the elections. The first one was a wide coalition that would only leave Vazrazhdane, TISP and Bulgarian Rise a minority, provided they manage to enter parliament. According to the daily, such a government would be a short-lived one, and it would give Vazrazhdane credit being the only opposition party. The second scenario is a cabinet formed by GERB in coalition with the MRF. It is unlikely, as it would trigger discontent with the young middle class, which refuses to accept GERB's leader Boyko Borissov as a ruling figure again. The third scenario is a coalition between GERB and DB. This is unlikely, because the two parties lack the necessary number of MPs to form a majority on their own. Furthermore, DB realizes that such a move would tank its chances in the next elections. 24 Chasa writes that the only good move would be a cabinet formed by GERB-UDF, DB, and a fraction of CC.
Valeri Naydenov's analysis for 24 Chasa suggests that the new government will be even worse than the previous one. Naydenov writes that the four parties that were declared "righteous" ones - CC, BSP, DB, TISP - no longer have a majority. While the "wicked" parties can theoretically form a government, "GERB is the very opposite of Vazrazhdane, and Vazrazhdane promised not to coalesce with pro-Euro-Atlantic supporters". So, if the parties show wisdom, that means they have no principles. And if they have principles, then the Bulgarian people should get ready for new elections, Naydenov concludes.
Speaking on BNT, former Prime Minister and CC co-leader Kiril Petkov comments on the results of the October 2 parliamentary snap elections. Petkov admits that he is not satisfied with the result of his party and says that CC will be a "constructive opposition" in next parliament. He is adamant that CC will not coalesce with GERB-UDF or the MRF. In Petkov's words, the political force which won the elections bears a great responsibility. "We refuse to negotiate with GERB", he stressed, adding that GERB has a wide choice, as they can coalesce with the MRF or Vazrazhdane. Petkov says that this will not be easy, but this is the responsibility of being a winner. He restates that CC is neither right-wing, nor left-wing party, but a centrist one.
Former Finance Minister and CC co-leader Assen Vassilev confirms for BNT that his party refuses to coalesce with GERB. "We believe that the way they governed Bulgaria is extremely harmful for the country's development," Vassilev says. According to him, it is absolutely crucial for Bulgaria to have a government, and CC's refusal to coalesce with GERB and the MRF does not make forming a government impossible.
Bulgarian Rise leader Stefan Yanev tells Nova TV that his party is willing to coalesce with any party, as long as this benefits the Bulgarian people. "The looming winter season, with its crises, requires all of us in the political field to find the path to dialogue," the former Defence Minister says. According to him, the message for the politicians from the electorate's low turnout is clear - "sit down and come to an agreement".
Trud News Editor-in-Chief Petyo Blaskov states that the state is wobbling "like a construction with no bolts" and blames the caretaker government for this situation. "The caretaker government is one of the most toxic institutions ever established by the Constitution," Blaskov says and argues that it lacks control, as it focuses too much power in the hands of a single person.
Duma reports that the Bulgarian National Bank raised the base rate for the first time since 2016. From October 1, the rate will be 0.49%. This is the highest it has been since the financial crisis in December 2009, when it was set at 0.55%.
Telegraph writes that Bulgarian banks are now charging more for services such as withdrawing and depositing money (whether from ATM or not), closing an account, and opening a current account.
Trud writes that tomato prices have risen by 12.4% reaching BGN 2.08 per kg, according to data from the Commodity Exchange and Wholesale Markets State Commission. Other products with higher prices include red peppers, peaches, and eggs. Cabbage and cucumbers on the other hand are selling for cheaper.
An article in Trud is dedicated to the free energy renovation that residential buildings can undergo if they apply for such with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works by the end of March 2023. Building owners can also apply after the deadline, but they will have to cover 20% of the costs.
Duma quotes data from Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, according to which Bulgaria is 41st in real estate market transparency out of 93 countries, making it among the worst ranked European countries. The only European countries trailing behind Bulgaria in the list are Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.
Dr Gergana Nikolova, M.D., told Telegraph that flu vaccines have been imported here and will be available to people over 65 and people with chronic conditions within days for free. The vaccines will be administered by the patients' GPs.
Trud writes about the astronomical observatory in Sliven, Southeast Bulgaria, which starts functioning again after a 25-year hiatus.
Telegraph and the Bulgarian National Radio have articles about Bulgarian racer Nikola Tsolov, who secured his victory in the Formula 4 Championship in his debut season. Tsolov will turn 16 in December.