Borissov will not be PM for a fourth term
GERB leader and three-time prime minister Boyko Borissov said he is giving up on his chances of becoming a prime minister for another term during a pre-election meeting in Pleven ahead of elections in April.
According to the latest polls, 25-27% of voters support GERB – a figure similar to those supporting the centre-right pro-European coalition between We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB). However, GERB’s campaign was severely damaged by the caretaker government’s revelations about violations in the construction of highways in Bulgaria, a source of pride for Borissov.
Regional Development Minister Ivan Shishkov conducted tests on two highways near Sofia, which showed that a third of the asphalt is missing. One of these highways was built with EU funding, which was paid out in 2016. The ex-prime minister accused Bulgarian journalists of not asking questions about Shishkov, who was charged with harming GERB’s election campaign.
Borissov stated that Bulgarian roads were collapsing because they were used by heavy trucks loaded with fuel and grain and linked the problem to the war in Ukraine.
“Everything must be maintained. We are at a crossroads, you know. All summer, 50,000 cars were passing on them. The same (caretaker government) allowed the movement of overloaded trucks both from and to Ukraine during the summer – fuel, grain, at 30-40 degrees, there is no road that can last,” said Borissov.
The pre-election campaign in Bulgaria has been dominated by the revelations of the caretaker government about road construction and the arrest of one of the most prominent businessmen in the construction industry, Veliko Zhelev. Before that, GERB’s campaign suffered a serious blow due to the sanctions imposed by the US under the Global Magnitsky act.
Among those sanctioned by the US for alleged corruption was Borissov’s long-time finance minister, Vladislav Goranov, though support for GERB remains stable for now.
In the last two years, Bulgaria has been through a severe political crisis, with five general elections during this period. Analyses show that the only option for creating a stable government is a coalition between GERB and PP-DB, but Borisov’s political legacy remains the biggest obstacle.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)