There are only several hours to go until the moment when we will learn the name of the new head of state of Bulgaria for the next 5 years. After the regular parliamentary elections on April 4, Bulgarians have been living in a constant election campaign, which conquered everyday life at home and abroad. That is why the main motive of the Bulgarians to vote today is the hope for longer-term stability. It is in the personality of the president that they look for a guarantor for this, as it is the president’s duty under the Constitution to be a unifier in times of social and political insecurity.
Radio Bulgaria has asked Bulgarian nationals living abroad what are the qualities that a worthy presidential candidate should possess and what expectations are related to this choice.
"We are voting for an honest president who can represent Bulgaria abroad," says Antonina Delcheva, a Bulgarian living in London. “An intelligent person, fluent in languages, able to accept criticism and change. Bulgaria must go through deep reforms and changes, as it is impossible to continue to exist according to the current model”.
Margarita Takach, who chose Germany as her home with her family, notes that while although it looks mostly representative, the president's institution has key powers for the country. Among them are the possibility to approve some of the appointments in the judiciary, to exercise control in some of the regulatory bodies, through appointments there, as well as the last word in the adoption of changes in the legislation. Margarita expresses hope that although so far a man has always been elected head of state, by the next presidential election the society will be ready to support a woman for this post.
"There are no legal obstacles for a Bulgarian president to be a woman. There were women in this campaign, but they appeared mainly as candidates for vice president. I very much hope that by the next presidential election, we will be mature enough as a society to see women candidates for the presidency nominated or supported by the leading parties and coalitions."
And expectations of the president are universal, regardless of gender and the year in which the election takes place.
"The president must be a man of integrity, a sustainable value system and high morals," Margarita continues. “He must be an authority that inspires trust and respect in people, be able to communicate his messages in an accessible and understandable way and have the courage to stand behind unpopular decisions that are in the interest of the nation. I hope that the new Bulgarian president will have principled positions on foreign policy issues, without demonstrating dependencies. I expect him to know the problems of the society, not to resort to populism and to give a personal example and ideas for solving them."
Nikolay Vlaykovski, who lives and works in the town of Reading (Great Britain), expects the new head of state to be impartial, to be able to talk openly with political parties and with every Bulgarian citizen.
"The constitution has given the presidential institution enough power and the president should not insist on new, broader powers”, Nikolay believes. “We are not and should not reach a presidential republic. The head of state must be supra-partisan, ready for quick decisions in times of crisis, surrounded by smart and uncorrupt advisers. Let me not forget that if he allows a gross violation of the rules, he will lose the trust of the people and risk an early removal procedure."
The founder of the Bulgarian school "Assen and Iliya Peykovi" in Rome - Veneta Nenkova, is one of those Bulgarian citizens abroad, whose love and connection with the homeland does not fade, but strengthens over the years. She assured us that many other Bulgarians, who have dedicated their time and abilities for the good of Bulgaria, feel the same way.
"I sincerely hope that the future president of Bulgaria will be open and sensitive to the problems of Bulgarians abroad”, says Nenkova. “For many years, they were considered people who are almost traitors to their country. This is by no means the case. I am a representative of those Bulgarians who work abroad for Bulgaria. I can confirm that for the Bulgarians abroad Bulgaria is as precious and dear as to all who live in our homeland."