site.btaMedia Review: June 17

Media Review: June 17
Media Review: June 17
BTA Photo

HIGHLIGHTS 

On its first page, 24 Chasa’s writes that GERB are on the lookout for a government leader with the profile of former National Assembly Speaker Rosen Zhelyazkov. The daily recalls that speaking on Thursday at the first news conference his party held after winning the June 9 national and European elections, Boyko Borissov set the formula for cabinet formation. He stressed that GERB should have a prime minister, a foreign minister, and a defence minister in a new government. 24 Chasa says that GERB are in search of someone "who has been in the executive, knows how to put out fires, and communicates with ideological opponents," a figure who is "resilient to media attacks, enjoys Boyko Borissov’s confidence". Besides Zhelyazkov, listed among those that meet the requirements are former Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, GERB Deputy Floor Leader Denitsa Sacheva, and deputy leader Tomislav Donchev. GERB members Daniel Mitov and Hristo Gadzhev are favoured for the roles of Foreign Minister and Defence Minister, respectively. Caretaker Transport Minister Georgi Gvozdeikov, Tourism Minister Evtim Miloshev, Economy and Industry Minister Petko Nikolov, Agriculture and Food Minister Georgi Tahov and former caretaker health minister Assen Medjidiev also enjoy the approval of GERB, according to unofficial information.

Trud’s lead story quotes energy experts as saying that the new balancing energy pricing methodology effective May 1 will lead to shocking electricity bills and bankruptcies. The industry says that after the independent transmission operator published the final prices for balancing energy on June 12, shortcomings in the application of the new methodology have already been spotted, adding that the shortage and surplus prices differ dramatically from the ones projected by the Electricity System Operator earlier. Free Energy Market Association Executive Director Maria Krasteva discussed the topic on the Nova TV morning programme.

Also on its front page, Trud has a story titled "Continue the Chage – Democratic Bulgaria Coalition Faces Collapse". Political observers project a break-up to occur in the new parliament term. The daily quotes former Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria leader and newly elected CC-DB MEP Radan Kanev as telling the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) on Sunday that "this coalition, as it stands, has no foreseeable future". He added that the support it enjoys is already too low, noting that pursuing the same policy will not bring any change. Kanev’s interview on BNR is also covered by Telegraph.  

Kanev’s view is shared by Diana Damyanova, former PR of CC, who tells Trud that the break-up has already begun. "The CC-DB coalition was formed on ideological grounds," she said, adding that their goal was "to come first in the elections, which they failed to do". "It was a mechanical merger," Damyanova noted.  

Duma’s front-page story bears the following title: "Atanas Zafirov at the Helm of BSP until Direct Election". Zafirov was elected as acting leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) at a meeting of the party’s National Council on Saturday. This comes after long-serving leader Korneliya Ninova tendered her resignation over the party’s showing in the June 9 national and European elections. Borislav Gutsanov was elected as BSP for Bulgaria floor leader.

In its leading article, Telegraph reports of migrants using bottomless barrels tucked under the fence at the border with Turkiye to make their way into Bulgaria. The daily quotes border police officers as saying that this is a recent trend, which makes it possible for between 30 and 40 migrants to cross into the country in just two minutes. The article says that refugee influx increases as the weather gets warmer, but Border Police notes that there are three-and-a-half- times fewer illegal border crossing attempts than last year. Interior Ministry data shows that 15, 000 attempts were prevented from January to May 2024, down from 55,000 in the same period in 2023.

POLITICS

Political analyst Lyubomir Stefanov says in a 24 Chasa interview that without a government, Bulgaria will become "the appendix of Europe and an easy prey for Moscow. And if all the bridges get burned, the next elections will create a monster". He noted that the result of CC-DB in the June 9 elections "was a catastrophe, because they have lost more than half of their votes", adding that they have failed miserably in communicating to the public what they were proposing. In Stefanov’s words, GERB has lost 140,000 votes, "which is by no means negligible" because a new party managed to enter Parliament with some 99,000 votes. The political analyst was referring to the Velichie party, describing it as "a symbol of the propensity of Bulgarians for eccentric bets". To illustrate his point, he cited the nationalist Ataka party and journalist and former MEP Nikolay Barekov, among others.

In a two-page Trud interview, political psychologist Prof. Antoaneta Hristova says that "the rules of democracy oblige Borissov to hold negotiations and become prime minister". Hristova expects BSP and Vazrazhdane to accept GERB-UDF’s invitation to government-forming negotiations. "It is humiliating for those invited to attend with their leaders and be met by three ladies who cannot make a decision," she said, referring to the GERB-UDF’s negotiating team, which includes MPs Raya Nazaryan, Temenuzhka Petkova, and Denitsa Sacheva but not party leader Borissov. "If they take a cue from [Velichie leader] Nikolay Markov, the rest of the leaders might not go as well," Hristova noted.

Hristova was also interviewed by BNR, where she said that there is not currently a successful move for Borissov or for anyone in the political configuration in parliament. "Even if an expert government is formed, it will appear weak," she added. Hristova said that if another snap elections are held in the autumn, patriotic parties will make more gains.

Speaking on the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) morning programme, political analysists and former MP and MEP Prof. Svetoslav Malinov and former National Assembly speaker and MEP Georgi Pirinski discussed whether a cabinet will be formed and who will possibly back it.

Political analysts Hristo Panchugov and Vanya Nusheva and lecturer in constitutional law Orlin Kolev were guests at bTV’s morning programme, where they discussed low turnout in the elections and voters’ confidence in Parliament.

The formation of an expert cabinet, possible coalition majorities, the possibility of new snap elections, and the likelihood of overcoming the political crisis were among the topics discussed by social anthropologist Haralan Alexandrov and financial expert Levon Hampartzoumian on Nova TV’s morning programme.

24 Chasa gives front-page prominence to a story headlined "Has Day of Reckoning Arrived for BSP?". The daily quotes journalist and former BSP MP Aleksander Simov as saying that "the shelf life of the leader [Korneliya Ninova] has expired after eight years at the head of BSP". 24 Chasa lists among Ninova’s faults the "catastrophic undermining of the party’s credibility: 800,000 votes lost since 2017", and "the party’s disastrous defeat, which not only cemented its position as a fifth political force but also showed a further drop in support that left the party just 3% away from the critical minimum needed to enter Parliament". The daily also notes that the number of socialists who were expelled or left the party under her leadership is equal to that recorded under all her predecessors combined.

SUMMIT ON PEACE IN UKRAINE

Telegraph reports on the first Summit on Peace in Ukraine that took place in Bürgenstock Resort in Switzerland on June 15 and 16. The daily quotes caretaker Prime Minister Dimitar Glavchev as addressing a session on ensuring nuclear safety and security in Ukraine. "We must not allow nuclear technology to be used for blackmail and aggression," he said.

Commenting on the Summit on BNR, international security expert Dimitar Gardev said that the conference was only half successful because the final document endorsing Ukraine’s territorial integrity was not signed by many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and India. He noted that China was absent and added that it all means that "there is not enough support for the formula of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on whose initiative the forum was held". Stoyanov also said that the issue of security is becoming increasingly urgent in the European Parliament. "Europe is failing on the issue of preserving peace on its own continent," he said, adding that "the war is escalating", and Europe should come up with proposals.

 On the BNT morning programme, former deputy foreign minister Milen Keremedchiev described the Summit as "yet another fruitless meeting". He recalled that last February, 141 UN member states signed a declaration demanding Russia's withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine. He pointed out that the Summit in Switzerland brought together 93 countries, 13 of which refused to sign the communique, and Iraq and Jordan subsequently withdrew their signatures. Journalist Chavdar Stefanov, who also appeared on the BNT morning show, said that "the fact that Russia was not invited indicates that the conference was not about peace, but about making Ukraine's position clear," he said.

ECONOMY

Speaking to 24 Chasa, Bulgarian Association of Rasprerry Producers Manager Bozhidar Petkov said that Bulgaria is among the top 10 countries that account for 85% of the world's raspberry production. Petkov cites Ministry of Agriculture and Food data, according to which Bulgaria produced 5,656 tonnes in 2023, of which 3,500 were for export. He noted that of all the fruit this country produces, only raspberries and cherries have a positive export balance, i.e., exports are greater than imports.

In a BNR interview, Bulgarian Farmers Union President Georgi Stoyanov said that his organization calls for the setting up of a compensation fund for agricultural damage caused by natural disasters. He noted that this is not a new initiative, and they have already raised the issue with the Agriculture and Food Ministry. "Farmers should have the opportunity to restore their businesses after an emergency," Stoyanov said. The interview comes after thunder and hail storms caused serious damage across Bulgaria last week.

HEALTH

Quoting the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC), Trud writes that Bulgaria is among the European countries where the tiger mosquito, which spreads diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus, has become firmly established. ECDPC warns of a rise in mosquito-borne disease infections.

TRANSPORT

Telegraph has an extensive interview with rail transport expert and former Railway Administration Executive Agency head Simeon Ananiev, who comments on the state of Bulgarian railways and problems in the sector.

WORLD MEETING OF BULGARIAN MEDIA

In a BNT interview, Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) Director General Kiril Valchev discussed the BTA-organized 19th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media, which will take place in the Ukrainian cities of Odesa, Bolhrad, and Izmail. He noted that the forum is themed "Media and Community" and will open on June 19, the day the new Parliament will be inaugurated.

/IV/

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By 05:46 on 16.07.2024 Today`s news

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