Trud (Bulgaria): there is no real alternative political party GERB, she will be the first

We talked with the Professor by Galanova about the political situation in Bulgaria and the struggle of parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections. A prominent political analyst commented on the electoral attitudes, the strategies of large players and the chances of smaller players in politics and speculated about the future of Parliament. We also discussed foreign policy issues and how distant events affect the internal politics of Bulgaria.

Work: Professor Galunov, what would have happened on the political scene of Bulgaria, if the parliamentary elections were held now?

Todor Galunov: the Current political situation in Bulgaria is characterized by a number of aspects. First of all, the impression of what remains of the traditional party structure. The major party players is not much developed in recent years. If one were to build their hierarchy, in the first place, of course, would be the political party GERB (“Citizens for European development of Bulgaria”) — despite the fact that she’s been in power, she remains the first political force. At the moment we have no reason to think that will change tomorrow, next month or in 2-3 months. At the moment we have no real alternative. This is due to the fact that Bulgaria has established specific bipolar political model. We have two political forces — which occupies a leading position for more than 10 years GERB party and the Bulgarian socialist party (BSP). Somewhere there is the eternal balancer of the DPS party (“Movement for rights and freedom”, representing the interests of the Turkish ethnic minority — approx. per). And this situation does not change. The only question is, what will be the coalition after every election? This bipolar model specific, because it is not bipolar because of the presence of a third force and a few small groups that change their political rating and somehow involved in the Bulgarian Parliament.

— As the GERB party fails to maintain its leading position?

— There are many reasons, and one of them is the weakness of the Bulgarian party elite. BSP can not believe that she can be the leading political force — the left used to be No. 2. This is to some extent even useful because they are not responsible for the government, but it is not in the interests of development of the party. On the other hand, HERB has learned to keep the brand, but to change most of the main players. If we turn to the evolution of the party, we can see that in the 10-11 years of the GERB party managed to update the political team and the one constant remains Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. It is difficult to allocate someone else. In the BSP there is a constant internal struggle, and now she’s moved into a difficult phase. They seem to have forgotten that during the 9-month series before the upcoming vote to their main opponent within the party and outside it: they forgot that there are other political opponents. The behavior of the BSP shows that in these elections, the socialists are unlikely to displace the first political force. The internal problems of the party will not allow her to repeat the result three years ago. Then the socialists won 80 seats, which amounted to 1/3 of the Parliament. For the opposition parties is a lot, that automatically makes it not only the second political force, but also creates the preconditions for a serious opposition to any government. Now, however, the BSP losing ago, but is still second. She’s strong enough to beat the other forces, but it lacks the strength to overtake the coat of ARMS. Despite the economic crisis, pandemic, internal struggle and external political factors, I am convinced that the EMBLEM will save your scores and will be the first political force in Bulgaria.

— Is it possible to make predictions about the mandates?

It’s very difficult. We still don’t know all the moods in society, and because of the peculiarities of the system of calculation of results of voting of the possible deviation. However, I think that the gap between the 95 MPs from GERB and 80 MPs from the BSP can be more. The difference between the number of deputies is likely to increase in favor of the EMBLEM.

Is there a person, which, if it appears in the policy, could radically change the current status quo?

— There is no such person. When we are talking about the current Bulgarian politicians, we mean two things: the President and the Prime Minister. The President of this party struggle in the parliamentary elections, we automatically exclude, and remains one of Borisov. Other obvious political figures within the party there, so at this stage he remains the undisputed leader. <….> Although the GERB party and centre-right, it uses the Arsenal of political ideas parties from across the ideological landscape. Not to say that the GERB party right and that’s it. On the contrary! If necessary, it transmits and left messages. Perhaps because of this flexibility of the GERB party, as well as due to the presence of a strong state administration, the majority of voters will vote for the familiar and safe, but not for new. It’s hard to give a new political alternative in Bulgaria.

— Analyze the smaller players on the Bulgarian political scene. What are their chances to be part of the new National Assembly?

— We have already spoken a lot about the new balance of power, but we are not sure whether they will be implemented in the new Parliament. It must be noted that some of the parties represented in Parliament at present, moving towards the smaller players. <…>

— How do you assess the position of the President of rumen Radeva?

— Currently, the presidential game is designed to Radev was re-elected. Another scenario would be highly undesirable. Let’s not forget that the party leader and the President have different tactics. Since Radev holds the post of head of state, his approval rating comparable to the rating of the Prime Minister. As soon as the President resigns and begins to form a party, its ranking will automatically drop. And if the EMBLEM somewhere, something gave way, so this is a post of the President. Four years ago, we have all witnessed it. The Bulgarian experience shows that other previous presidents, descended to the level of the party leader, this success is not accompanied.

— In foreign policy it is also difficult. How the world is changing in a pandemic?

— Start with Europe. Currently, the EU is an ordeal, not to mention the health aspect of the pandemic. The problem arose in purely political terms: in a time of crisis caused by a coronavirus, in every country are waging a fierce debate. Should we close the borders, should be put in quarantine on arrival should we do to solve their problems…? The main element of the EU since its establishment, the free movement of people. Now this moment suddenly became unofficially reviewed. If the situation continues, the EU may try to appeal to other European doctrine and become a Federal Europe; it will not be the Europe we know where we are all Europeans, “Europe — national state”; European activities will be reduced to a minimum. It will be hard because there is heavy layer of European bureaucracy. This is a serious problem for the EU, because in the electronic twenty-first century maintain such a high level of bureaucracy is inappropriate. This is why the EU has been criticized by all the moderate Europeanists and Euro-pessimists. In this regard, there is a sub-problem of the Western Balkans. This concept is not geographically accurate, because if we are talking about the Western Balkans, we also need to specify exactly what the Balkans are North, East and South. Bulgaria tried to be proactive on this issue during its presidency of the Council of the European Union. Furthermore, the EU cannot afford to fall behind because he is in a unique coexistence with the major powers — USA, Russia, gaining momentum with the distant Turkey and China. I wonder how the relationship will develop large forces after the referendum in Russia. There was taken the political direction that is opposite of European integration: the priority of the Russian national law over foreign. In the EU the opposite is true: the established European norms have priority over national. Formed two political models — national and European. However, we do not know what is happening in the United States. Coming presidential elections are important, but largely the policy of trump or his opponent will determine American policy towards the outside world. Whether us active in Europe, in the Balkans and in other parts of the world, or they will behave moderately, will concentrate more on their internal problems — view. This is likely to affect policy in Bulgaria. The world is arranged in such a way that distant events have an impact on our domestic politics.