site.btaMedia Review: March 31

Media Review: March 31
Media Review: March 31
Bulgarian newspapers (BTA Photo)

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Forty-eight hours before the vote: photo finish for No 1 and No 3. The latest data of the 4 leading polling agencies and their comments to 24 Chasa. The chances for a regular government in some technocratic variant are 50/50. But for a stable government the chance is 1 in 99%. According to the latest polls of the Alpha Research agency, there is a photo finish between the two political forces that appear to be in first and second place - GERB-UDF and Continue the Change – Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB). Either of them could be first. There is also a minimal distance between the third and the fourth – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and Vazrazhdane, and the fifth political force is certainly the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). Bulgarian Rise and The Left! have theoretical chances to break the 4% barrier.

Parvan Simeonov of Gallup: The intrigue will be how united PP-DB is to work with GERB or not. Whether a government is possible after the elections is a question of unity for the PP-DB coalition. Because it seems to me that part of it won't mind some form of working together with GERB, and another part will probably see more chances in a future election. In any case, this will be one of the intrigues we will see after April 2.

Dobromir Zhivkov of Market Links: the big denouement will be in [the local elections] 2024. Let us not forget how the 48th Parliament ended - with the mandate of the BSP, and a meeting at which good intentions were expressed by GERB, MRF and BSP to get out of the political crisis through some kind of interaction. But this seemed to have been closed as a possibility, at least by GERB, in this election campaign. Which brings us back to the situation that we will not do without a formula in which both major political forces have at least partial support for forming a cabinet. The position of the MRF, who left the door open to both major opponents. This is a step towards opening up possibilities for a minority government, but with the precondition that the MRF has 40 or more MPs. He is skeptical about the opportunity for a stable cabinet lasting for a longer period of time.

Dimitar Ganev, political analyst, Trend agency: the votes from abroad can decide the first and third place in the vote. GERB will win 24-26%, CC-DB could be down or up a few percent. There are hints of some understanding between the first two forces, but a cabinet without a clear partnership will not hold.

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In an interview for Trud, Prof Mihail Konstantinov, a mathematician and expert in elections, forecasts that GERB and Continue the Change will have 70 MPs each. In a five-party parliament, it is possible that the BSP will get back some of its votes and get 25 MPs, at the expense of Vazrazhdane (35). In case of a breakthrough of one of the formations, which are below the line in the polls, the possibility is for a parliamentary group of 10-12 MPs at the expense of GERB-UDF and PP-DB. Sofia will determine the winner of the April 2 vote, pollsters say. A government around GERB is more likely. 

The two major formations GERB-UDF and CC-DB, according to the latest polls, will each get 70 MPs, MRF and Vazrazhdane 40, and BSP -20, Konstantinov said. He commented that these figures could change on voting day, as many of the people who have said they will go to the polls have not yet decided who they will support. The mathematician predicted that the MRF would get three seats from Turkey and the BSP could win five extra seats in parliament if paper ballots bring back some of their voters. He said it was unlikely the parties closest to the 4% barrier would enter parliament. "If it does happen, it will be at the expense of the two largest formations, which will have fewer MPs," the professor said.

Tihomir Bezlov, Senior Analyst at the Center for the Study of Democracy, told Trud News he does not don't think there is any radical change that will have an impact and change the situation. Yes, it will be easier in some respects in counting a bought vote with a paper ballot, but the "traders" have already mastered various techniques related to the machines, so that is not the decisive factor. The big problem, compared to the past, is that once there were some full Roma neighbourhoods and thousands of people willing to vote for a certain amount. Now, when you look at the Roma neighbourhoods, they are empty. Or vice versa - when you go to Western Europe and look at our Roma communities, it is clear that there is a huge percentage of people who have moved out of Bulgaria and are not taking part in the elections. Asked how he assesses the actions of the police, Bezlov answers that reports of excesses would refer rather to previous election campaigns and no such things like attacks on elderly could be said of the present election campaign, nor about the previous ones last October. The police is in action, he said, according to plan.

In its column presenting party leaders in the run-up to the April 2 snap elections, Trud features a peace on Vazrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov titled “The Warrior”.

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The mediapool.bg e-zine also carries a forecast on the outcome of the upcoming elections. Judging by the final sociological forecasts before the elections on 2 April, there will be a contested battle not only for the first place (between GERB and PP-DB), but also for the third (between DPS and "Revival"). At the moment, two polling agencies say that PP-DB is ahead of GERB, while two other agencies say the opposite.

BNR says the winner [in the elections] is unclear and the third place is questionable. Five formations with sure representation in the next National Assembly, another two close to the 4% threshold, according to a survey of the Trend agency commissioned by the NOVA Broadcasting Group and conducted between March 22 and 29 through a direct non-standardized face-to-face interview among 1,004 18+ adults. The Telegraph quotes the same survey. Three main questions remain that cannot be answered conclusively - the winner of the elections, the third place, and the number of formations that will receive parliamentary representation. The practical parity between the GERB-UDF coalition (26.4% of the vote) and the Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition (26.1% of the vote) remains. A stronger mobilisation of GERB-UDF is registered in the course of the campaign. The MRF (13.7%) and Vazrazhdane (13.3%) remain at a minimum distance of half a percent among the voters. Trend reminds that the polls are conducted only on the territory of Bulgaria and the expected larger margin of formations such as CC-DB and MRF among voters abroad could tip the scales in their favor.

BSP is in a secure fifth position, with 7.3% of the vote. Among the smaller formations, the The Left! coalition has the best chance of representation in the 49th National Assembly (3.6% of voters), followed by Bulgarian Rise (3.5%). There Is Such a People remains with 3%. The option "do not support anyone" is indicated by 5.2%. The result of this option is redistributed among all formations, as it does not participate in the final election result in a general election. 48% of all interviewees declared that they would exercise their right to vote, equivalent to just over 2.6 million voters.

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The deregistration of Bulgarian clubs in North Macedonia is also a message to Bulgarians in Macedonia and to Bulgaria as a state, North Macedonia journalist and editor-in-chief of the tribuna.mk website, Atanas Velichkov, commented for Bulgarian National Television (BNT), as quoted by 24 Chasa and Trud, as well as other media, the latest deregistration of the King Boris III Club in Bitola. Earlier in March, the Central Registry of the Republic of North Macedonia announced it was rejecting an application for agreement to the name of the King Boris III Civil Society Association in Ohrid. "They tell the former: ‘If you want to play, then you will play by our rules and we shall say how your clubs are named and what you will do’, while the Bulgarian state is told that whatever it wants from them, whatever revisions to the constitution it wants, they cannot gather the requisite number of deputies for that, but can get together the 84 MPs needed to pass retroactively legislation banning two clubs already registered by the Macedonian legal system," Velichkov said.

In North Macedonia, both the parties in power and those in opposition are at war with the Bulgarian community in Macedonia and the Bulgarian state, Velichkov said. "Every concession of Bulgaria here is commented as a triumph, as some incredible victory of the Macedonian power. The aim now is to enter into a judicial saga in which the societies, instead of working for the cultural rapprochement of the people on both sides of the border, start dealing with complaints, counter-appeals, lawsuits in Strasbourg." According to him, the Macedonian authorities have built their own thesis in front of Brussels that "they are victims". "Anything to do with Bulgaria, with the awakening of the people here and with the understanding of the historical truth is a nail in the coffin of Macedonism." 

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The Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union (BPU) and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) were about to reach a compromise to extend their current contract so that patients are not left without access to re-imbursements. The current contract between the NHIF and the BPU expires at the end of the month, and the professional organization of pharmacists refused to sign the new one due to disagreement with two proposals. The first is related to the obligation of a pharmacy to fulfil the prescription in full or not to fulfil it at all. The second is related to the requirement that pharmacies submit information on drug verification to the NHIF. They failed to do so so far and Bulgarian Medical Association head Dr Ivan Madjarov told NOVA NEWS that NHIF should come out with an opinion for continuing the contract with the pharmacists. Patiens sign for BGN 20 (a check-up by a doctor), which is reported to NHIF. No one signs anything at the pharmacy, he argues. 

ECONOMY

The protest of grain producers continues across the country. Protesters are demanding a veto on imports of agricultural goods from Ukraine. On Thursday, the protesters met with the President and line ministers. Their talks revealed that Bulgaria has started talks with seven other countries to change the European regulation on imports of goods from Ukraine. Entry fees at border crossings for Ukrainian produce are also being considered. In the meantime, a protest by winegrowers is being prepared, bTV reports.

And the winegrowers are coming out in protest, writes Trud, quoting the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR). A national association of Bulgarian winegrowers is gathering the disgruntled in front of the presidency, after which the procession of winegrowers will head to the agriculture ministry demanding an annual national budget to support the wine sector and dessert vineyards.

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Bulgarian leader in the production of flat-rolled and extruded aluminium products Alcomet AD is the winner of the Investor of the Year Award 2022, 24 Chasa reports, quoting bTV. The event was organized by the InvestBulgaria Agency for the 17th time running. President Rumen Radev presented the award to Alcomet majority owner and honorary chairman of the Bulgarian-Turkish Chamber of Trade and Industry Fikret Ince.

/BR/

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