“The success of Vasil Terziev and the appearance of Vanya Grigorova mark the end of the Transition” – this is the categorical opinion expressed by the political scientist Prof. Maria Pirgova. According to her, the change, the new as a trend, really continues, but in the face of Vanya Grigorova.
Prof. Maria Pirgova
“It is very important that “We continue the change” (PP) emancipates itself from “democratic Bulgaria” (DB), which is like a millstone for them. GERB will continue to be a factor in Bulgarian politics, but not a dominant one,” she added.
Here is what Prof. Maria Pirgova said in an interview for “Maritsa”:
– Has the time of quality managers come?
– The time of good mayors is coming, otherwise Bulgaria will perish. If we leave it to parties that are only interested in distributing the state budget, public procurement, we will perish. It is good that we are seeing more and more useful local initiatives carried out by real local associations.
– Prof. Pirgova, was it a surprise or expected development of the local elections in Plovdiv the run-off in which Prof. Ivaylo Staribratov, nominated by PP-DB, will face Kostadin Dimitrov from GERB?
– I was surprised by the weak performance of Slavcho Atanasov, supported by the “United for Plovdiv” coalition. I expected a more serious result from Mr. Atanasov, who could not win a serious majoritarian success.
Perhaps the result of Prof. Staribratov is also due to the mobilization of young voters. Friday’s code scandal, which caused machine voting to be suspended at the last minute, may have played a role and may have caused more PP people to go to the polls.
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But there is disenchantment with old, repeat candidates in local government – this is being seen across the country. People want something new. Bulgarians are also influenced by the fact that global conditions are changing, the world is entering a stage of chaos, in which decisions must be different, everyone must rely on their own activity. I believe that to a large extent this is also due to the better than expected result of the PP, especially in the big cities.
– The composition of the Municipal Council in Plovdiv will be quite varied, as in most cities in the country. GERB and PP-DB will have the most representatives, followed by representatives of the coalition “United for Plovdiv” and the surprise of the local vote – the debutants “Bravo, Plovdiv”. Can we also expect a coalition between GERB and PP-DB in the local parliament, something like a duplicate of the nationally governing assembly?
– We are currently monitoring the beginning of the great retreat of GERD. Yes, they have retained many of their mayoral seats, but the fear of them is gone.
Yes, the assemblage will also manifest locally, but rather the vote in the local parliaments will be situational, without considering the government. It is weak, unconvincing in its actions, it is seen as something temporary.
And in some places completely different, regional interests will be at play. The local government will comply with the central government less and lesshowever financially dependent on her.
Another trend is the reduction of the authority and importance of the central government at the expense of the local one. At some point, the decentralization of local government will be a fact with voted legal changes.
It will not be possible to maintain this situation of dictation for very long – that the mayors depend entirely on the central government, the small mayors depend on the mayors of the municipalities. This centralization will have to slowly break down – with legal changes under the pressure of citizens and especially local businesses.
– Is the result of the elections in Sofia a sensation, where PP-DB candidate Vasil Terziev goes to the run-off against Vanya Grigorova, supported by the BSP/Levitsaand not against Anton Hekimyan, appointed by GERB?
– The result in Sofia surprised me very pleasantly. naturally, the favorite Vasil Terziev will sit in Fandakova’s chair, but I expected a miracle to happen and Vanya Grigorova to go to the runoff. However, I did not expect Sofia to give 22 percent of the left vote, a vote for a person with morals, because the campaign against Grigorova was very strong.
It was not supported by the BSP central government, only the local organization fought for it. Its result is very strong against the background of unfavorable factors – both internal and external.
In fact, the success of Vanya Grigorova is the result of the breaking of the fear of the unipolar world, the fall of the dictates of the neoliberals inside the country.
GERB’s candidate Mr. Hekimyan also contributed to this result, but this would have happened to whoever Boyko Borisov’s party nominated. Hekimyan performed poorly, but whoever else they had raised would have been a victim of preserving the assemblage, of the government, which is more valuable to them at the moment.
– Does Vanya Grigorova have a chance for a new political career beyond the trade union one? Would it be a threat to BSP leader Cornelia Ninova?
– The paradox is that Grigorova is not starting any new career – she will simply be a strong leader in the Metropolitan Municipal Council. She is the new left leader that people have been waiting for for a long time.
And this is a paradox – that right-wing Sofia produced a new left-wing leader. Grigorova is not a serious threat to Mrs. Ninova, but is a factor on the left, which Ninova has not been for a long time.
Grigorova will lead the left – she or someone next to her, the new left wave that is born next to her. Thank God this left wave is born with a trade union color – this is the real left we wondered where it would come from.
– What is due to the better than expected performance of PP-DB in the national plan?
– The scandal with the codes, which led to the cancellation of the machine vote at the last moment, also helped them. But the better performance of PP-DB is mainly due to the fact that young people are already turning more and more to Bulgaria as a country to live and work, and not to abroad. This makes the youth a much more decisive political factor than before. Generations changed and PP appeared. I like the future mayor of Sofia in Vasil Terziev.
His staff performed badly in the elections, pushing him towards anti-communism, but he is pragmatic, he has nothing in common with PP leaders Kiril Petkov and Asen Vasilev in terms of behavior, attitude. The vote for Vasil Terziev was mostly given by young people who want to live and work here. This is not exactly a vote for the PP, but a vote for the new people who are doing something good for Bulgaria.
The fact is that Terziev headed the Telerik company, which educated many young people. This is a much more serious factor than the PP and their parliamentary group, which exposes the younger generation in many ways. So the majority vote in Sofia is not exactly for PP. The change, the new as a trend, really continues, but in the face of Vanya Grigorova. PP should not beat their chests at all because of Terziev’s victory.
The victory of Vasil Terziev and the appearance of Vanya Grigorova mark the end of the Transition, the end of the right-left, of the privatizing left.
It is very important for PP to emancipate itself from DB, which is like a millstone for them. I don’t believe they will succeed, they don’t have the strength for it. But there is a chance that Terziev himself will be emancipated from the PP, which will be a very interesting process. They drag him into schemes that are not his own. And very soon we will find out that Terziev is not their man, as they think.
– After 18 years, GERB lost the mayoral seat in the capital. How badly will this loss affect them?
– GERB will continue to be a factor in Bulgarian politics. They will not be a dominant factor, they will start to lose influence gradually.
Their main concern is not to fall apart after Borisov. But this will not be soon – the party will probably exist for at least a decade after Borissov, and he himself still has years as party leader.
– Why did the “Vazrazhdane” party turn out to be so overrated, and their successes in the local elections were much more modest than expected?
– The explanation is simple – the behavior of “Vazrazhdane” in the parliament, where they vote together with GERB. Eventually, they were revealed as a GERB project and people stopped believing them. It is no coincidence that their result in Sofia is only 6 percent, only in Varna they perform better.
People realized that “Vazrazhdane” are not Russophiles at all, everything with them is a game, and a paid one at that. So their performance in the local elections is quite understandable. And from here on, “Vazrazhdane” will fade away. There will be a scream that people may pay attention to but not believe.
– How will the results of the local elections affect the assembly?
– They will have no effect. The assembly is meant to steal while it can. At least until the change of prime ministers in March.
The result of the local vote is unfavorable for GERB – they retain many mayoral seats, but Borisov had hoped for much more. It is possible to push the government and trigger parliamentary elections – possibly after March next year.
But they will hurry, because in 2024 there will also be elections for the European Parliament, where GERB could lose even more. So parliamentary elections are possible much earlier than expected.
Who is she?
Prof. Maria Pirgova graduated from the Moscow State University “M. V. Lomonosov”. Long-time teacher at Sofia University. She was the parliamentary secretary of the Council of Ministers and vice-president of the LEADER party. Author of books and scientific publications.
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