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Bulgarians in Nuremberg are optimistic about the forthcoming general elections

Photo: Gabriela Bencheva

One year after the beginning of the anti-government protests in Bulgaria and abroad, which lasted until the late autumn of 2020, our compatriots in Nuremberg have more confidence in the forthcoming early Parliamentary elections. They demanded change in the full knowledge that the thirty-year governance model must be rethought. Gabriela Bencheva, coordinator of the first protest in Nuremberg on July 19, 2020, told Radio Bulgaria details about the current attitudes.

“We awakened many people. Last year’s protests were extremely useful, because a large number of people wanted to vote and cast their ballots at the general elections on April 4. Voter turnout in Nuremberg was extremely high. Unfortunately, only one polling station was open in this city. Voters formed very long queues in front of the polling station and some people even gave up waiting. This time, people will have the opportunity to vote in three polling stations, which is very good news, because I am sure that many voters will go to the polling stations. Many people have already learned how to vote quickly and people feel much more comfortable this time.”

Bulgarians in Nuremberg, who were supposed to form an election commission, were replaced at the last minute, which caused tension. In Gabriela’s words, this made people think that someone was trying to manipulate the elections:

“There is no tension this time and things are going quite smooth. People write less in the social media. However, we can read some clarifications such as the address of the polling stations, etc. In my view, Bulgarians abroad and in particular people living in Nuremberg have positive attitude towards the forthcoming early general elections. Some of the people who live abroad left Bulgaria, because they had no choice, which is a prerequisite for a high voter turnout. On the other hand, those who were unable to vote at the previous Parliamentary elections will be willing to cast their ballot this time. Moreover, people are much more prepared now. They have been filling in voting applications online, so as not to waste time during the elections.”

Gabriela and her parents departed to Germany 10 years ago. She completed her secondary and university education there. The twenty-eight-year-old lawyer is currently working at the Nuremberg court. She is adamant that her home country will be different after the early general elections. “Of course, things will not happen with just a wave of a magic wand, but the first steps have been already made”, noted Gabriela. Will the long-awaited change make Bulgarians return to their home country?

“I think so. There are different groups of Bulgarians abroad. Some of them left Bulgaria, in order to earn money and support their family. There are people who feel well abroad and whose families have been living abroad for several generations. Their children do not know Bulgarian and have no connection with Bulgaria. I doubt that these people would return to their home country, but most people living abroad would return to Bulgaria. Those who have not started families abroad should start a family in Bulgaria. If you start a family abroad, your kids would learn a foreign language and would have a different mentality. Then you start looking at Bulgaria as a country you visit every summer. Fortunately, there are people who start a family abroad with a foreign partner and later return to Bulgaria, because they feel better there. There are all kinds of cases. Nowadays, we are free to make all kinds of choices.”

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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