Sociologist Yuriy Aslanov: It is possible for BSP, ABV parties to come out with joint president nomination in July21 June 2016 | 16:22 | Radio FOCUS
FOCUS: The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) should prepare for the presidential elections as if it is heading at snap parliamentary ones. This is what BSP Chairperson Korneliya Ninova said speaking during the weekend. Georgi Parvanov, leader of the Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV), on the other hand, said it was impossible for his party to support Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s possible candidacy for president. Is it possible for the parties in the left wing to come out with a joint candidate and what changes in the positions should be expect for the run-off. Now we are going to ask sociologist Yuriy Aslanov all these questions. Good day, Mr Aslanov!
Yuriy Aslanov: Indeed, a joint candidacy is possible and I believe that eventually the good sense will prevail and we will manage to reach agreement on a join leftist nomination.
FOCUS: Who will this person be, who will manage to heal the “scars from the divorce” between BSP and ABV?
Yuriy Aslanov: The candidate should not be selected from the current active elites of the two parties, so as to avoid the reoccurrence of unpleasant memories from the past. Thus, it is not possible for Georgi Parvanov [leader of ABV] or Ivaylo Kalfin [former Deputy Prime Minister for Demographic and Social Policies and Minister of Labour and Social Policy with ABV party] to unite the socialists. I think that even ABV realises it.
FOCUS: BSP leader Korneliya Ninova described the presidential elections as…
Yuriy Aslanov: In this sense, Korneliya Ninova is not a good option either because she is leader of BSP. The search for such a person should be focused on a figure that is acceptable for both parties, there is a need to avoid accumulation of negative feelings.
FOCUS: Ms Ninova declared that the presidential elections were the road to snap parliamentary elections. Is the idea of snap elections what unites the political powers in the left wing?
Yuriy Aslanov: Yes, this is the road towards changing the status quo in country’s government. Thus, the snap parliamentary elections are the end goal. The presidential elections will show whether we hold the key and whether we can incite snap parliamentary ones with a possible success [at the presidential].
FOCUS: Do the parties in the left wing really stand a chance to win snap parliamentary elections now?
Yuriy Aslanov: I am aware that such a claim does not sound reliable but I think that we have some great chance to win the presidential elections.
FOCUS: Are the candidates of the CEDB and the left wing the ones to be in the spotlight of the elections battle?
Yuriy Aslanov: Yes, this is the intrigue. This will be the clash at the elections but it is a clash of two options for country’s future. It is impossible for someone else to be implanted from a third side. That is why I expect a clash between these two options.
FOCUS: You mentioned two options, what are they?
Yuriy Aslanov: The other one is more or less known because the CEDB has been in the government for a long time and generally the track that the country will follow is firmly outlined: unconditional following of the tracks outlined by Brussels, as well as the Americanisation of the foreign policy.
Obviously, the other option is not to say contrary but much different. We think that the country is governed spinelessly; we fail to impose our Bulgarian national interests in the international agenda neither globally nor in the Balkans, which are now dictated by NATO at the moment. I think that there is a lack of balanced foreign policy to the West and to the East, as well as towards the new raising powers, towards China, because following decisions towards one direction leads us to a dead-end. I think this should be changed.
FOCUS: Bulgaria of the Citizens Movement announced that the Reformist Bloc would come out with a strong joint candidate and expressed expectations for a run-off. Can we really expert a joint nomination from the right wing?
Yuriy Aslanov: Well, if we call a “joint nomination from the right wing” the nomination of the Reformist Bloc, then “a strong candidate” is a too high expectation. I understand that this is how the parties talk before elections. If they think that a “joint nomination from the right wing” is not manifested by expressing support to the candidate of the CEDB, I do not know how the CEDB will give in and recognise Reformist Bloc’s candidate instead of their own, and respectively I cannot think of such a possible option.
If they have made such a statement, then it means that there will be at least two candidates for president nominated from the right wing – one of the Reformist Bloc and another one – of the CEDB.
Of course, I expect that the Reformist Bloc will support CEDB’s candidate at the run-off but we know that voters do not always follow commands in such cases.
FOCUS: Do you think that the passions around the presidential elections will affect the relations within the coalition itself?
Yuriy Aslanov: It is not just possible, it is inevitable. There will be definitely some tension.
FOCUS: Let us now shift the focus to another level of disunity – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and the Democrats for Responsibility, Freedom and Tolerance (DOST) parties. Do you think that DOST will come out with a nomination and what MRF’s response will be?
Yuriy Aslanov: It is hard to make a guess about the internal stability of the MRF after the split of the new DOST party. We cannot judge what is happening there. Probably the presidential elections will be some kind of a test, which will show whether there are any significant changes.
FOCUS: Do you think that the referendum will affect the results of the presidential elections as they will be held in parallel?
Yuriy Aslanov: There will be certain effect on the results. Of course, this referendum is still wrapped in vagueness until the Constitutional Court rules on some of the disputable questions. Anyway, it is impossible not to hold the referendum because the petition was declared valid. The only question is whether all questions asked are in line with the Constitution.
FOCUS: According to you, why are the parties delaying the announcement of their candidates for the presidential elections?
Yuriy Aslanov: I guess it is because they are waiting to see the nomination of the BSP. BSP is conducting an inter-party poll at the moment over the form in which the party will run in the elections. It will end up in the end of the month and probably there will be a decision on the presidential couple in the end of July. I think that after the BSP announces its candidates for president and vice president, the other parties will follow it.
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