ONE FOR ALL, ALL FOR A PRESIDENT
The only competitor who will certainly take part in next autumn's president elections is the current head of the State Georgi Parvanov. This is the situation half a year before the event. We can only guess at the names of the other applicants. At least until May 10 the media will be inevitably enumerating a few more names of politicians, businessmen, scientists and intellectuals with right beliefs. The eight negotiating parties from the right wing fixed the first Wednesday following May 6 as the new decisive day and promised that by then they would have elected a single president applicant couple.
In the meantime, while they were puzzling over, commentators did not miss the chance to note that in fact political forces of all colours and nuances were working hard for the second mandate of the current President. The President himself told in an interview for the state radio before Easter that he did not need a campaign because the state needed an acting president.
We had no intention to talk about the well known election repertory of President Georgi Parvanov - also because we have been watching it since last July when he started to catalyse the process of creating a three-partite coalition government. We are not going to comment on the demonstrative climbing up the Danube dikes while the Parliament discussed and gave a non-confidence vote to (his) Government - just because of the floods. We are not going to speak ill of the fact that on Easter's day itself the head of State went to the Sveti Alexander Nevski cathedral which he refrained from visiting until last year in order to avoid meeting the then prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He used to do so not to cause abomination in his colleagues from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). In turn, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha lit a candle in Sveti Kral this year, but entered the political news a day before Easter. It was the meeting between the former prime minister and his one-time bodyguard Boyko Borissov that provoked the imagination of the media and rearranged the president's puzzle. During the conversation which took place on Holy Thursday the king allegedly asked the Sofia mayor if the GERB society would support the former minister of justice Anton Stankov, should the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII) nominate him a president. The idea, the press announced in conspiracy, occurred to the personage and the general manifested amicable attitude.
On the very next day Borissov's subordinates denied the information with anger by saying that Anton Stankov might be well disposed to them but was not the person they were looking for. The BANKER weekly learned from perfectly informed sources what the real situation was. The king and the mayor did talk about politics indeed, but the man in their conversation was not an acting judge but... an acting president. The NMSII has a firm position about the president elections, but it does not answer whether or not they will nominate a candidate of theirs in the competition and who they will support if their leader fails to get involved, as it seems for the time being. The NMSII insists that the European MPs elections be held by the end of 2006 and, if possible, coincide with the president ones. It depends on the ruling majority in the Parliament and on the President when the voting for Bulgarian representatives in the European Parliament will take place.
NMSII members are aware of the small chances they have to have their own president. According to most political analysts, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is not going to apply but will profit by the situation as much as possible. Georgi Parvanov knows it well that if he appears as the candidate of the three-partite coalition, he may kill himself with kindness. Until autumn the Government led by Sergey Stanishev will have accumulated even more negative attitude on the part of the electors, regardless of how and when Bulgaria will join the European Union. Failures in both the social and tax policies to which people are most sensitive will reflect on the head of the trio. That is why politicians and observers expect that with the time for elections coming, Georgi Parvanov will grow more critical towards the executive power. Behind the curtains, though, he will keep his business relations with the king and Ahmed Dogan.
Still, it seems quite elementary to compare the President's behaviour with that of Petar Stoyanov in 2001. At least because BSP is not the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), neither is the three-partite coalition the United Democratic Forces. Sergey Stanishev cannot be compared to Ivan Kostov - although the present Prime Minister, like Kostov, keeps his eyes and ears tightly closed when it comes to certain acts and lack of acts of his ministers.
The media are already nosing out a conflict between BSP and the President, but they are well aware of the fact that this is a sense of a false perfume. The problem is that unlike the former and the present UDF, in the name of power the party forgives its own members.
At present, the Movement for Rights and Freedom keeps silence about whether or not it will support Georgi Parvanov. If the current President walks up to his knees in water and appeals for prosecutors' inspections of the hoops of companies, he will not get support from Dogan. But if, as he did while the MPs quarrelled about the vote, he just mentioned an investigation should be held about where the money for the floods has gone, he may keep Dogan's friendliness.
In turn, if Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha supports Parvanov, he may keep his estates or at least some of them, while his party strengthens its positions and gain international fame with a number of European MPs. The king is well aware that in a EU member state these MPs bring prestige to the internal political life, too. These are positions that generate power resource. And the NMSII members have not abandoned the ambition to regain it.
That's why the meeting between Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Boyko Borissov aimed at finding out what the mayor would do with the President. In fact, the thesis is supported by Borissov's statements made in the beginning of last week. The mayor distinguished himself from the NMSII furiously and announced he put an end to his contacts with them until they remain in the three-partite coalition. He also made a hint that he might support Georgi Parvanov because there was no better candidate right now. Therefore, Boyko Borissov kept the sympathy of those abominated by the Government and did not spoil his relations with the king and the President, and also made an aristocratic demonstration that he was a figure to comply with.
As to Georgi Parvanov, he would probably apply independently, but with the silent support of the coalition partners. In this case BSP, too, will accept the theatrical war with the Government and the Prime Minister in the name of the victory. Then the poor electorate will have no other choice but elect Georgi Parvanov, since there will be no other candidate. It doesn't matter how many votes he will gain. Bulgaria needs a president anyway, doesn't it?
And while the right wing is trying to apply the formula all for one, their major rivals simply don't do so. In the name of their own project.