Friday, July 10, 2009

THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS QUAKE

(This is something I got as a circular email; it's worth reading if you are interested in the political situation in Bulgaria).

On July 5th Bulgarians kicked out of power the governing coalition of socialists, royals and Turks giving a shocking victory of 40% to the newly formed party of the charismatic Sofia mayor GERB (the Bg initials for Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria). The socialists (former communists) got 17%, the Turks-15%, the Nationalists-10%, the United Democrates-7% and the Law and order party- just over 4%. The royals fell out beyond the 4% threshold.
These results give a stable majority for a GERB government enjoying the parliamentary support of the united democrats, the law and order party and the nationalists. Prediction for an unstable majority and early repetition of elections did not materialise. Next prime minister will be the current Sofia mayor whose priorities are the crusade against corruption, restoration of Bulgaria’s international image and infrastructure projects.
Less than a month ago at the European parliament elections GERB got 26% and the socialists- 18% at a 38% turn-out. What happened within 20 days so that the turn-out jumped to 60%, GERB reaching 40% and the socialists retreating to 17%? This is a question international media does not answer adequately- blank reference to corruption fatigue tells nothing. Were not they corruption tired 20 days earlier? One has to be at the election queues before the polling stations to hear the truth.
10 days prior to the elections the Turkish party leader Ahmed Dogan made a stunningly brutal speech addressed to his 10% ethnic minority. The speech is well documented all over the media. It sounded like statements of a Sultan governor from the times of the Ottoman Empire. So Ahmed Dogan openly said: ”I rule the rulers of this country…I control everything…MPs and ministers do not matter…For nearly 20 years I have been to parliament just a few times…I personally allocate the finances of the country…nothing happens without my blessing…”. This speech acted like a wake up lightning to the Bulgarian nation. Journalists recalled his statement of the early 1990s that Bulgaria’s road to Brussels passes through the Bosphorus/Istanbul. People realised that if they do not crush him now at elections a bloody battle will be left for their children. But to crush Dogan one has to bring down from government his closest ally- the former communists. This is what brought another 2 mln Bulgarian voters at the ballot to stop the creeping Turkification. The election surge was a clear anti-Turkish vote giving confidence to the Sofia mayor that he can stop the Doganization and its related massive and brutal corruption. The socialists are shocked having figured out that with their miserable 17% they simply paid Dogan’s bill.
Bulgarians fear not only Turkey’s entry into the EU when Turkey may overrun the country with a few million immigrants. They also fear the prospect of being the consolation prize to Turkey chopping a part of Bulgaria with its Turkish minority after failing to enter the EU.
These are not panic irrational concerns. At each elections Turkey sends to Bulgaria about 50 000 voting tourists who have left the country many years ago and about 100 000 thousand such votes within Turkey so that Dogan’s party always gets a starting bonus of about 150 000 votes which they re-direct to regions with a close race (25%-30% of all his votes). Thus they simply execute the fair play. To make that happen again only last week Ankara issued a regulation allowing the voting tourists to leave Turkey for a day and return without interrupting their permanent stay for citizenship.
123 voting stations have been opened in Turkey to facilitate 150 000 emigrant voters there while in the US they were just 19 and in Europe- about 20. Bulgarian citizens around the world were rejected the option of an electronic/e-mail/internet vote to make sure that only emigrants in Turkey vote and not intellectual emigrants.
In recent days a Bulgarian journalist asked the socialist prime minister Sergey Stanishev to suggest to the Israelis that they should open 123 voting boxes in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt so that a few million Arab emigrants elect the Jerusalem parliament. Or that half a million Thracian-Bulgarian emigrants from Turkey should elect the mayor of Odrin or that 1 million Greek refugees from Asia Minor should elect the mayor of Izmir or that successors of 1,5 mln slaughtered Armenians should elect the MPs in Diarbekir.
The ugliest election practice was the purchase of votes- paying small sum of money to poor and minority people in return for their vote at the ballot. In the mixed ethnic regions the consideration was a free circumcision- reports the Trud daily on July 6th. Other parties, especially of local business leaders, also resorted to purchase of votes though it was fixed as a crime in the penal code. Voting tourism and purchase of votes made EU observers suggest the re-introduction of monitoring on Bulgaria’s democracy practices. The Sofia mayor promised to uproot them both.
The biggest challenge to Boyko Borissov, the current Sofia mayor and future prime minister, is the fight against corruption where he must quickly deliver if he wants to unblock the frozen EU funds for Bulgaria. That may not be so easy because in law enforcement he will confront “die-hards” appointed in recent months by the previous government in exchange for corruption immunity. Yet there are a lot of honest and professional investigators, prosecutors and judges who are eager to do their job- in the first post election day they arrested a deputy minister on grave corruption charges.
All the above information is from the public domain. We failed to find any reference on it in the international media- especially on the anti-Turkish vote and its background. Who co-ordinates this silence of the shepherds even when the lambs speak?

July 7th 2009
Sofia Valentin Braykov