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NEWS 20 Mar 17

Socialist Chief's Attack on Democracy Angers Bulgarians

Social boss Korneliya Ninova’s statement that democracy has taken away a lot from Bulgarians has provoked a social media storm ahead of the upcoming general election. 

Mariya Cheresheva
Korneliya Ninova. Photo: Bulgarian Socialist Party

Bulgarian have flooded Facebook with angry comments and mockery after Socialist Party chief Korneliya Ninova launched what some termed a broadside against democracy.

“Korneliya has mocked generations of Bulgarians who have given their lives for a free and democratic Bulgaria ... where her party buried freedom and democracy for half-a-century,”  former foreign minister Nickolay Mladenov wrote on Facebook, urging the Socialist leader to apologize.

What provoked his and many others' outrage was a speech that Ninova made in the Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora on Sunday.

Criticizing her party's main rivals in the upcoming elections on March 26, the centre-right GERB part of former prime minister Boyko Borissov, Ninova urged her followers to take back their “freedom, comfort and dignity” back from Borissov.

“Democracy took away a lot from us. It took away our healthcare, education, security, but it gave us the freedom to think, to have an opinion and to fight for our rights. This man [Borissov] took even this freedom away from us,” she said, as quoted by BSP’s press centre.

“This was the last straw …What infinite arrogance. Those people [BSP] have no shame or morals,” Victor Stoyanov, musician and candidate for an MP's post from the new, liberal “Yes, Bulgaria” party wrote in a viral post on Sunday.

Others mocked the Socialist leader, listing the queues for food, power outages, fear and the censorship as some of the things that democracy had "taken away" from Bulgaria since the fall of communism and the first free elections in 1991.

Ninova, who has boosted support for her party since she became its first female leader last may, shrugged off the criticism, saying some people had taken her words out of context.

“Fake democrats, stop crying,” she retorted, insisting that the BSP had been the only party to protect the principles of democracy during GERB’s rule.

According to polling agencies, the last days of the campaign for Bulgaria’s early elections will play a decisive role in determining the winner.

Gallup International Bulgaria’s latest poll, released on Sunday, gave the BSP a small advantage of 0.4 per cent of the votes. According to the poll, the BSP can count on the support of 30.3 per cent of the voters, just ahead of GERB, estimated at 29.9 per cent.

Ahead of the vote, many parties have betted on populist rhetoric to win the trust of undecided swing voters. 

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