Bulgaria: Daily marches halted as protesters demand early elections

Bulgaria: Daily marches halted as protesters demand early elections

The pandemic calls for significant changes in the agenda of Bulgarian society. The overwhelming of the healthcare system as a result of the growing number of patients and doctors infected with Covid-19 re-frames political debates in the country. And, while in spring there was a feeling that the measures were timely, now, an increasing body of analysts report that the country’s institutions are monitoring the events and predicting serious consequences for both the health of the Bulgarians and the economy. And, in the way the axiom states that the salvation of the one drowning lies in their hands, it is constantly reminded that it is the responsibility of each of us to comply with the anti-epidemic measures to reduce the pressure on hospitals and doctors and save the healthcare system from collapsing. Even the organizers of the anti-government demonstrations in the country decided to change the form of voicing their grievances by stopping the daily demonstrations.

“We must allow Bulgarian doctors and nurses to keep managing the wave of patients. We are making this move out of respect for our rescuers and with disgust at the power of the mafia. We consider it hypocritical to criticize the crooked health system and at the same time even one of you running the risk of getting infected! The government is afraid to take this responsibility because it will receive political accusations and will lose even more support. That is why we will take responsibility”, said Nikolay Hadjigenov, a lawyer with the so-called “Poison Trinity” organizing the protests.

Civil society has woken up and no one had dreamed of that in March, writer Zahary Karabaslyev commented in an interview with the Bulgarian National Radio (BER). As he argued, it is already clear that there will be no early elections:

“For me, the protests ended around October 2 and that was the right thing to do. It is time for everyone to go home and prepare for the elections. There is no need for protests anymore. There is no need for people to get cold on the streets and spread the virus”, he said, adding that he initially considered early elections inevitable.

“It makes more sense to hold elections in March”, journalist Sasho Dikov told VER, but added that he did not rule out the possibility of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov resigning at any time. “For years, his charisma as a man of the people helped him win sympathy, but the latest recordings showed the ugly image of Boyko Borissov”, Dikov told VER. “If we had a normal Prosecutor’s Office, this man would no longer be in politics, he would not even be free. But he is lucky that we do not have a Prosecutor’s Office. His other great fortune is that no opposition forces recognized by the people as Boyko Borissov’s opposition can emerge”. However, the journalist does not rule out the possibility that Boyko Borissov will win the elections again.

“Whether it is a regular or early election, the Borissov era is over” General Atanas Atanasov, co-president of “Democratic Bulgaria” commented on the current situation in our country. He claims that the major corruption scandals during the GERB government amount to more than 70, while the country’s institutions are out of order. “In order for certain measures to be implemented, people must have confidence in the government. What action can you take when your people do not trust you?”

“This crisis is a threat to national security, because the lives of Bulgarian citizens are being jeopardized. The appropriate response of the state should be such of addressing a threat to national security, and I am not seeing such behavior at all”, Atanasov said. /ibna