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News 22 Jan 18

Bulgarian TV Star Hunts for Would-be Politicians

Popular Bulgarian TV host Slavi Trifonov is about to start interviewing thousands of would- be politicians – who he says will be very different from the kind of people who have run Bulgaria lately.

Mariya Cheresheva
Slavi Trifonov. Photo: Slavi's Show

Popular Bulgarian TV host Slavi Trifonov announced on Thursday that a host of would-be politicians would be interviewed on February 2, 3, 4 and then broadcast online, so that Bulgaria citizens can be more “objectively informed”.

He and his team had “decided to show you people that are different from the current politicians – educated and with proven qualities – people who can represent Bulgaria and all of us in a different light," he said. They would be "people who can be the politicians that a modern and civilized country deserves,” he added.

A total of 3,777 people have applied for the non-traditional job offer, launched by Trifonov at the end of September last year.

He explained that the applicants included people with “remarkable biographies” who had graduated from top world universities.

It remains unclear, however, whether the TV showman intends to start a party of his own whose lists he would fill with the winners from the casting competition.

 Trifonov, a popular TV host since the 1990s, has made forays into politics before.

In 2015, together with the team of his show, he initiated a referendum on changing the political system, which took place on the same day as the last presidential vote on November 6, 2016.

Bulgarians were asked to say yes or no to mandatory voting (already in effect since May 2016), a majoritarian system to elect MPs, and slashing subsidies for political parties.

Although 2.5 million people voted at the referendum, it was not quite enough for the result of the vote to be binding.

Trifonov challenged the results in court, but the judges confirmed the referendum result's non-binding character.

According to Georgi Kiriakov, a Sofia-based political analyst, the upcoming reality-style castings for politicians are a sign of “decay of the political system” – but also a sign that Trifonov and his team do not understand how politics works.

“If he really wants to participate in politics, he has to form a party, assign those 3,777 people to its lists and go into elections. Everything else is a circus rather than a real political step,” Kiriakov said. 

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