Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

The Bulgarian liberals should fight for 10-15% of the voters

Adelina Marini, November 30, 2009

The problem of the Bulgarian liberal party NDSV (National Movement for Stability and Progress) was not its participation in the tripartite coalition but in the impossibility of the yellow party to distinct itself clearly enough from the problems of the coalition of the previous government. The NDSV underestimated the potential of the ruling party GERB. This was the main conclusion in the report of ha party, presented at its 5th congress. The report was presented by the deputy chairman of the party, the former finance minister Milen Velchev.

This position was supported by many of the delegates that spoke at the congress. One of the most vigorous speeches was of the coordinator of the economic team of the NDSV Vladimir Karolev who said that the main problem of the party was not its participation in the tripartite coalition but the neglect of the regional structures of the party and the distance from people. Among other mistakes of the party he pointed out the calumny. The main political opponent of the NDSV is the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which was also part of the tripartite coalition and the main rival is GERB - the party of the current prime minister Boyko Borisov.

This is the reason why the liberals should not make a right turn as some of the delegates called. Stefan Kenov, a delegate from Burgas even warned that if the NDSV goes to the right there was a real danger the party to be swallowed and erased as a party. Another delegate Petar Nachev called NDSV to return to the people. "NDSV should go down from the yellow cobble (that's the road surface of the street in front of the parliament in Sofia and is a symbol of power) and go to the people", he said.

Olympy Katev also made a very flamboyant speech by saying that early elections are coming and the NDSV should prepare for the vote. He added that he did not want to be governed by "Boyko the emperor". But Vladimir Karolev called for more reason and added that the NDSV had no chance to win any upcoming elections and that is why the party should focus on 10-15% of the voters. "The success is not winning the next elections but to find our place from now on and it is in the political centre".

Another delegate wanted the party to apprehend the behavior of Mincho Spassov who in the previous parliament headed the Internal Affairs Committee. "We like the most the behaviour of Mincho Spassov who as a chairman of the internal committee revealed character without raising his voice. ... This vulgar period of the society will pass and more and more Bulgarian will realise that this country needs a political class, a large part of which is in our party", the delegate added.

Others blamed the statement of the coalition partner of the NDSV in the previous government for their failure at the last parliamentary elections. That statement of the DPS leader (the party of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria) Ahmed Dogan angered not only the people but a lot of political figures as well*. "The DPS wrecked us with his statement in the village of Kochan", one delegate noted. In the meantime, many of the speakers firmly announced that the party leader and ex-tsar Simeon Saxecobourggotta should stay in one form or another as a leader because he was the one that created the party values and the culture of behaviour and tolerance, specific for the NDSV.

In the Saturday afternoon the delegates have to elect a new president of the party. The candidates are 4, but those with biggest chances are Nikolai Vassilev (ex minister of administration) and Hristina Hristova (ex minister of labour and social policy). The other 2 candidates are the former MEP Bilyana Raeva and Iliya Lingorski. In the very beginning of the congress the Political Council of the party resigned. The expectations of the yellows were that they will find their place on the political stage because "although the high credit of confidence, the new power gives a lot of contradictory and worrying signals. We are witnesses of non-European and incompetent populist political speaking, of a polarization of the society, there are trends towards intolerance toward the political opposition and criticism in media is hardly allowed".

Some delegates even warned against the growing authoritarianism in government. That is why one of the main goals of the Movement will be to tighten up and prepare itself for the local elections in 2011.

*The contradictory statement of Ahmed Dogan during the campaign for parliamentary elections this summer in the village of Kochan: "I am the instrument in the power who distributes the portions of the companies in the country. I want you to be very aware with this issue. How can a member of parliament solve a problem with projects and their financing? This is impossible! The power is in my hands. The power is concentrated in me and not in your member of parliament and I want you to know that".