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Elections 2024

Bulgaria has voted! Where are we heading to now?

Photo: Pixabay

Election fatigue, extremely low voter turnout (just over 30%), more young people at the polls and a fragile, barely perceptible hope for stability and political normality. This is how we can describe the past election Sunday for Bulgarians all over the world. For the sixth time in a row in the past three years Radio Bulgaria became a companion of our compatriots during their election, this time "2 in 1" - for National Assembly and for Bulgarian MEPs.

"There is a huge apathy in society and I personally do not see even a beginning of any change,” says Bulgarian Ivo Radanov, who graduated with a degree in political science in Bratislava, Slovakia:

"We are regressively moving towards where we started before the protests in 2020. However, I rely on the fact that the politicians who were displaced from their strong positions and are now returning, have nevertheless realized that the people have a voice and there is already some kind of civic society, even though the majority of the people do not participate in it. It is time for the corruption scandals to be reduced to a minimum, because discontent is simmering and people could start protesting again in the near future."

Queues in front of the section in the Hague

Yesterday, the citizens of European Bulgaria just needed to go to the polls. They did it in places like Bulgaria, Belgium, Austria, Turkey, Poland. There were places where there were queues in front of the sections. "Some queues are a good sign. Vote for the future, not for the past," writer Georgi Gospodinov wrote on social networks, playing with our memories of the turbulent years at the end of the 20th century. But even today, the political "time shelter" for Bulgaria and Europe turns out to be a mirage.

"The time shelter is within us. We can find it only in ourselves, in our own values and in our thinking,” Krasimira Obretenova, who emigrated to the Netherlands in 2018 to raise her daughter with disabilities in normal conditions, told Radio Bulgaria. “We cannot continue to look for shelter in the past, as we Bulgarians do not even know our past, because it was manipulated during the 45 years of occupation, and we simply have to learn to think about the present and the future. And to think not only about ourselves, but also about the world around us."

It is a world that is changing with or without our desire or our vote.

We held elections that are important for preserving the democratic future of Bulgaria and the European Union, the social principles of democracy and freedom for which we fought so much, says Valentin Velichkov, a computer engineer from Berlin.

"Not only here in Bulgaria, but also in Europe, there are some noticeable trends that I, as a person living in Western Europe, hope would be stopped."

"Europe, the European Union, European values. There is no other option and there is no other way! The very fact that for nearly 80 years there had been no military conflict on the territory of Europe and the European Union has created opportunities for peaceful and prosperous coexistence shows that this is the most successful socio-economic and political-geopolitical model of existence," Krasimira Obretenova adds.

Today, this pillar of democracy and unity on the Old Continent is under threat. This was shown by the results of yesterday's vote for the European Parliament, which led to early parliamentary elections in France. There was silence in Bulgaria from politicians and citizens, as the hope for a bright and peaceful future also seems silenced. Politics is the art of compromise, of negotiation, and probably the key to our European future lies there.

"In my opinion, compromise is inevitable in a parliament. And if this compromise is not reached, we know the procedure - a caretaker government and new elections and so on until the state is completely stuck!" says young film director Boris Slavchev from Italy. Lack of a parliament, of an active state administration stops our development and we are lagging behind in Europe. Look at the Italians! They also have problems in Italy and they also constantly change governments, but they don't go to elections all the time," Boris Slavchev says.

"There is already a note of pessimism here. The current elections are very similar to the previous ones, and for this reason I think we will have another chance to vote very soon. I hope I am not right," Ivan Tsankov, secretary of the civil association "Bulgarians in Argentina" told us. I hope this would end and we would finally have a stable government."

"The people who come to vote hope for success for Bulgaria. They want peace and work! These are the general things that each of us wishes for ourselves and for our country. And now where are we headed to after the elections? Towards a better Europe!" Maya Padeshka, who was in Florence on election day, says.

Europe is us - the citizens. Have we moved towards our better self? That is what we are about to find out after the elections as Vox Pópuli, Vox Déi (“The voice of the people is the voice of God"). Radio Bulgaria thanks each of you, our interlocutors in the June 9 elections, with whom we were able to present the free and democratic voice of Bulgaria. Time will tell how strong and clear it was, but we believe that the meanings of the words “Motherland” and “Hope” are rooted in it.

Author: Vesela Krasteva /interviews by Veneta Nikolova, Gergana Mancheva, Yoan Kolev, Diana Tsankova, Miglena Ivanova were used/

Publication in English: Alexander Markov

Photos: Pixabay,BTA, BGNES

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