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One more “party of change” is going to the polls

Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev take on the role of saviours

Photo: Ani Petrova

For the first time Bulgarians will be voting for a third National Assembly in succession in the space of a year. This is so because the 45th and the 46th National Assembly failed to form a regular government. And because the current political formations, lined up along the “parties of protest” and “parties of the status quo” axis, were unable to form a ruling coalition a new political player is now springing to life. The formation around the former ministers of finance and of economy in the caretaker cabinet Assen Vassilev and Kiril Petkov is going to the polls on 14 November with the clear message that they are ready to shoulder the heavy burden and, in the next National Assembly, will form a coalition government of change.

Assen Vassilev

It is as yet unclear whether this latest party of “saviours” in Bulgarian politics is going to be just a project and, after completing its mission will pack up and go, or whether it really does have long-term plans. Talking about “change” is typical of any political novice, but it does not reveal whether the two will pursue a left or a right-wing policy. What seems certain is that they will stake on the well-worn gambit of populism. As Kiril Petkov said: We believe in right-wing tools to achieve left-wing objectives. In terms of left-wing populism, the new formation will try to draw the votes of the disappointed with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the coalition “Stand Up, BG! We Are coming!”.

Kiril Petkov

Being a former co-founder of “Yes, Bulgaria”, a party from the coalition “Democratic Bulgaria”, Kiril Petkov expects to draw votes away from “Democratic Bulgaria”, and why not from centrist parties like the populist “There Is Such a People” and GERB. But that is just theory, the answers will come on 14 November.

Significantly, what are known as the “parties of protest” seem inclined to hold dialogue with the new political force. “There Is Such a People” are not worried by the appearance of a new political entity,” says the party’s deputy chair Filip Stanev. “It is too early to be talking of any partnership but the appearance of a new political entity is a positive thing because it offers something different from the status quo,” Stanev stated.

Filip Stanev

“We have nothing to worry about. If other political projects appear which are working in the same direction – extending the periphery of the voters who support our causes, that can only be good news for us,” said “Democratic Bulgaria” co-chair Hristo Ivanov. 

Hristo Ivannov

“We are not worried by such a project in the least. To us, it is an attempt by Rumen Radev to clear the field of the failed parties of protest, and replace them with a new formation to, possibly, try to finish off what they failed to do,” commented Toma Bikov from GERB.

Toma Bikov

Commenting on the role of the Presidency behind the new political entity, Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Mustafa Karadaiy said: “We are still a parliamentary republic. Pluralism is protected under the Constitution and the Political Parties Act.”

Mustafa Karadaiy

For now, only the BSP has complained, unofficially, that there have been attempts to draw people and structures away from their party to join the new formation.

Photos: Ani Petrova and BGNES

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