Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

STARS AGAINST OUTGOING MAYOR STEFAN SOFIANSKI'S SMILE

All the runners in the eight towns where mayor elections will be held have already been registered in the municipal election committees. Pre-election battle has started and the situation is most intricate in Sofia. Sociologists are unanimous that all political parties have staked on party stars. Independent candidates also rely on their glory from party activities. But do they realize they will be competing not only with each other, but also with the memories from Stefan Sofianski's mayorship for two and a half mandates? It is perhaps that competition that will to the biggest extent decide the vote in the capital city. And their willingness to vote as well. It could be stimulated by not simply spitting on the former mayor, but by proposing a more reasonable alternative for mending the damages done, than those offered by the opponent. Debates on TV have already started but they do not promise anything of the kind, at least for the time being.In the first week of the pre-election campaign polls reported that only 35% of the citizens in Sofia will certainly vote. The number of those, motivated to vote for a mayor, may increase by some 12% till October 29 and reach the activity at the local elections in 2003, pollsters believe. It is possible that the number of those who cast their vote in the capital city does not exceed 500,000. That will be more than half of Sofia's citizens with voting rights. Among them there will be surely such who decided not to vote in 2003 because Mr. Sofianski's smile already seemed to them distorted and artificial, but they could not choose the red ballot for the then socialists' candidate Stoyan Alexandrov. According to data from the initial polls, the independent runner Boyko Borissov relies exactly on these ballots. It's another matter that the reactions of those who do not vote are the most uncertain and unpredictable and the general, who is said to be one of the favourites in the race, will certainly lose part of the votes of NMSII's electorate who will prefer Milen Velchev, sociologists claim still before they have measured the rating of the former finance minister. It's more than obvious that the votes of hardcore party ballots would be distributed between couples of stars. The right-wingers will be hesitating between the candidates of Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) - the financier and former BNB governor Svetoslav Gavriiski, and the acting Sofia mayor Minko Gerdzhikov, the candidate of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), who according to a lot of observers is doomed to failure because of his participation in former mayor Sofianski's team. NMSII's votes will hesitate between Milen Velchev and Boyko Borissov. The hardcore socialists will be divided between the party discipline and their distaste for the unruly Ms. Tatyana Doncheva. It is not known how many nostalgic UDF followers would believe the independent Ventseslav Dimitrov, but no matter how many cast their ballots for him, they will most probably go to the right during the run-off.Sociologists are not already so firm that Gen. Borissov and the the so-called iron lady would participate in the decisive duel for the Sofia mayorship. Milen Velchev and Svetoslav Gavriiski are also serious pretenders. Only at the run-off the candidates will be able to act as party stars. Then the party support will probably decide the winner. If the right and the right-centrist adherents consolidate against Ms. Doncheva, the outcome would hardly delight the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). If the right-wing and the NMSII quarrel again, the socialists will be drinking champagne at their headquarters, No 20, Pozitano street, after BSP has not won the Sofia's mayor elections for 15 years. And if the mobilization of the party vote for Ms. Docheva does not exceed 40%, the battle for Sofia will be probably between a financier and general. The lottery for ballots in Sofia's mayor vote was held on Tuesday (October 4). Here are the ballot numbers of all 15 runners in Sofia:1 - Svetoslav Gavriiski (Democrats for Strong Bulgaria)2 - Velizar Enchev (independent)3 - Hristo Hristov (Movement for Rights and Freedoms)4 - Anguel Anguelov (Bulgarian Revolutionary Youths Party)5 - Georgi Zhekov (independent)6 - Tatyana Doncheva (Bulgarian Socialist Party)7 - Boyko Borissov (independent)8 - Milen Velchev (Simeon II National Movement)9 - Minko Gerdzhikov (Union of Democratic Forces)10 - Anton Genov (independent)11 - Nikola Kukov (Front of Democratic Forces Long Live Bulgaria!)12 - Simeon Fidanov (independent)13 - Tsvetan Nachev (independent)14 - Ivan Bochkov (Party of The Middle Class)15 - Ventseslav Dimitrov (independent)

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