The Together party was established on Tuesday, the second new party involving well-known Bulgarian politicians to be set up this week ahead of the April 2 general elections, the country’s fifth in two years.
Together is rising from the ashes of There’s Such a People, the party formed in 2020 by one of the most popular entertainers in the country, Slavi Trifonov, which won the elections in July 2021 but then failed to win any seats in the October 2022 polls.
There’s Such a People became an uneasy part of Kiril Petkov’s 2021-22 reformist coalition government. But the party then contributed directly to the ousting of Petkov’s cabinet in July last year after leaving the coalition and de facto joining ex-premier Boyko Borissov and his GERB party in opposition.
It said it quit the ruling coalition over historical disputes with North Macedonia but was actually seeking to prevent a money-making scheme involving the state and private business around the Bulgarian-Turkish border from being investigated.
These erratic policies cost the There’s Such a People its voter base. Although it no longer has any MPs, the party still exists, although its chances for an electoral comeback are minimal.
The new Together party is led by former There’s Such a People members Iva Miteva, the speaker of the National Assembly, and Lyubomir Karimanski, a vocal critic of ex-premier Petkov.
They remained vague about whether they are looking to Borissov’s GERB party or to Petkov as potential allies.
“I only believe in myself,” Karimanski told the party’s first press conference.
“Let’s first unite and then decide whether we are on the left or we are on the right,” said Miteva.
On Monday, former ombudswoman, speaker of the National Assembly and Bulgarian Socialist Party member Maya Manolova announced the formation of The Leftists, an alliance consisting of other left-identifying factions, mostly created by former Bulgarian Socialist Party members.
It features Manolova’s party Stand Up Bulgaria, Movement 21, which is led by Tatyana Doncheva, and Alternative for the Bulgarian Rise (ABV), known for their anti-vaccine position during the peak of the pandemic and featuring former Interior Minister Rumen Petkov and former President Georgi Parvanov.
The parties are largely against Bulgaria showing firm support to Ukraine, in line with the pro-Russia stance of their former party.
The two new parties are not the only ones to bring fresh competition to the April polls.
On January 21, the National Movement for Stability and Progress party (NDSV), created in 2001 by former Tsar Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Simeon II) – now retired from politics – announced plans for a comeback at the general elections.
The NDSV was in power between 2001 and 2005 in a coalition with Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with Simeon II as premier, and then in a coalition with the Socialists and the DPS from 2005 to 2009. The party’s failure to introduce reforms is often seen as its legacy. The NDSV’s popularity waned drastically after 2009.
The month before the news about the party’s return, Simeon II held a closed-door meeting with Russian ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova and a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia.
On February 5, a poll by Exacta agency predicted another win for former premier Boyko Borissov’s GERB party on April 2, with 26.6 per cent, ahead of Petkov’s We Continue the Change and Hristo Ivanov’s Democratic Bulgaria, two former coalition partners who are running together for the first time, with 16.4 per cent.
Source : Balkan Insight