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Bulgarians living abroad voted for a system reboot

Radio Bulgaria conducted a vox pop with Bulgarians voting abroad, and asked them what kind of Bulgaria they expect to see after the elections for parliament on 4 April.

​Filli Ladgman has lived in Melbourne, Australia for many years. She is a journalist, Bulgarian-language programme radio anchor at Australia’s public service broadcaster SBS. Asked what Bulgarians in Australia expect she says:

“Bulgarians expect to see a changed, a new Bulgaria. They expect a Bulgaria with transparent governance, in which there will be no corruption, they expect a Bulgaria they will willingly go back to, not with a knot in their stomach because they don’t know what they will see there. But most of all, they want a future for themselves in this country, because right now they do not see a future for themselves in Bulgaria. So, I am hoping that this election will bring about just such changes, and that things in Bulgaria will get on the right track – in the economy, in politics, the country’s independence.  And also – people want transparent governance.”

Misho is one of the people who cast their vote in Melbourne. He says that he voted because it is time for change, and that the country must not be governed by the same people as 20-30 years ago. That is why I think we should all go out and vote:

“This is a change that starts with us and the situation Bulgaria is in right now is because of the people and the utter irresponsibility. That is why we must rise and get rid of the old figures, and make way for the new people,” Misho says.

Kalin Tsvyatkov is 21, a law student at the University of Strasbourg.  He says it is high time politicians in Bulgaria got rid of their unconscionable dependencies because there are difficult times lying ahead:

“I voted for a change in policy making in Bulgaria, and that is something that is enormously important. So much depends on who is going to take the helm in the next four years, because there will be a huge financial resource to be distributed. These coming years will be crucial! They will be years in which we shall be coming out of one crisis – the financial and health crisis - and entering the next – climate crisis which we are already in, but which will only grow deeper. We must be ready with politicians who will take these problems to heart and cope with the situation. I hope Bulgaria will change its policy and this can happen when politicians that will be more responsible take the helm. I think there will be more educated people, from abroad and from Bulgaria, who really will put their heart into their work and wash away the immoral dependencies politics is overgrown with.”

Raya Dimitrova who is studying international law in France, says Bulgaria is in for hard times in the coming four years connected with the health crisis and climate change. And adds she hopes politicians will demonstrate a sense of responsibility:

“I voted for a change, for a better future for all people in Bulgaria and for the Bulgarian citizens living in other countries. I think the next 4 years will be difficult because we are yet to emerge from the crisis caused by Covid, and enter a crisis caused by global warming, so there are difficult times ahead. But in the summer of 2020 we saw a positive change – the awakening of civil society. Politicians must realize they are merely representing the Bulgarian people. There must be more transparency in governance in Bulgaria in the coming years, politicians must be held accountable by citizens.”

First and foremost, the health Colvid crisis must be contained in the fairest way possible, with the minimum of damage for ordinary citizens and public health, and not for the benefit of business or profit,” says Valentina Savova, artist and drawing and painting tutor who has been living in Paris for years but who says she has not lost touch with Bulgaria:

“What is really important right now is to get more young people involved so they can become part of the administration. There are many young people – in the more recent and in the older parties, as well as waiting in line to cast their vote. That is so hope-inspiring! What I expect to see is an awakening, not just in industry, in agriculture, in the economy, but most of all in moral standards.”

Sabina Christov who has been living in Germany for more than seven years, says the future government of Bulgaria is going to be a difficult thing.

“All of us who have children born in Bulgaria have a very powerful bond with the country and a responsibility for its future. Our only guiding principle ought to be that we are one nation – Bulgarians who are abroad and Bulgarians who are in Bulgaria,” says Sabina who is also chair of the Bulgarian society “Ognishte”.

Dimitar Ivanov has been living in Switzerland for 20 years. He is civically committed and has been involved in the organization of elections abroad since 2005. “Bulgaria cannot evolve on the basis of fear, it can only move forward with politicians with courage,” says Dimitar who is global coordinator of the network of Bulgarian election volunteers in the world.

“Globally, I expect Bulgaria to turn to its diaspora – 1.5 million people – and say: We need you! Without you we cannot catch up on the backlog all statistical data are showing. This capital, all of these people abroad, are a potential that is going untapped.”

Photos courtesy of the respondents

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