2011-05-22 WikiLeaks: Bulgarian 2009 elections - Garbage In, Garbage Out


Bulgaria held European elections in June 2009, followed by the national parliament elections in July. The main political players are analysed by the american ambassador in Sofia Nancy McEldowney in two cables sent to Washington DC and reported by the investigative journalism site Bivol, a local partner of Wikileaks. [09SOFIA301] [09SOFIA264]

The cables give a rough picture of a political landscape plagued by corruption, shady businessmen, vote buying and accused criminals running for MP.

Bulgarian media stressed the direct translation of the title "Garbage in, Garbage out", adding that not all of the Bulgarian MPs deserve to be named "garbage", but many of them are looking after their private interests first, through heavy lobbying. "Now, it's up to them to reject this qualification. With a radical change" - popular daily "Troud" wrote in an OpEd.

English language site Novinite stressed the comparison of Ataka (Attack) party and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms. They are each other's "best enemies", according to the cable.

"Local analysts say Ataka and MRF need each other to frighten their constituents into voting." the cable says.

Currently, Ataka is the ruling centrist-right GERB's only parliamentary ally.

"With a roughly 10-percent lead over BSP, GERB will win the largest share of votes but not a majority and will have to find partners to form a government. Though it calls itself center-right and uses pro-Western rhetoric, the party is really the one-man show of its founder and leader Boyko Borisov, former Interior Ministry Chief Secretary and bodyguard to Todor Zhivkov," McEldowny also says in the cable, pointing out the current Prime Minister has "alleged ties with underworld figures".

On Friday, Ataka and his leader Siderov produced what may be described as Siderov's biggest scandal up to date. far-right extremists from the Ataka party assaulted praying Muslims in downtown Sofia. The outburst occurred while the nationalists led by their leader Volen Siderov staged a rally near the Banya Bashi mosque in Sofia protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque, Novinite.com reminded.

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