Bulgarian voters' views: 'Election doomed'

  • 15 May 2013
  • From the section Europe

Final results in Bulgaria's general election show the centre-right Gerb party of ex-Prime Minister Boiko Borisov narrowly ahead of its Socialist rival, the BSP.

Only two other parties have passed the 4% threshold needed to enter parliament - the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and the ultra-nationalist Ataka.

Analysts say that it will be hard for either main party to form a credible coalition, leading to further uncertainty.

Here, people in the EU's poorest country describe hard living conditions, political apathy and hopelessness.

Georgi Todorov, 23, student, Shumen

I voted for the nationalist party Ataka. There was no other choice. BSP is the party of the Communists, MRF is the party of the Turkish minority.

I voted for Gerb during the previous election but they disappointed me because all they think about is building roads and highways while ordinary people could not afford to buy food or pay their bills.

You've got to ask yourself why Boiko Borisov is so much into building roads.

Everyone can reach their own conclusions, I'll just state a fact - the materials used to build or repair roads are of such low quality, that a year after the repair, they are in a worse state.

Not only is Boiko Borisov arrogant, his intellectual level is extremely low.

It is very sad that so many people consider him worthy to hold the post of prime minister. This tells a lot about the state of our nation.

Biliana Marchevska, 19, student, Veliko Tarnovo

I voted for the first time. Maybe Gerb's re-election after big protests against them is down to the fact that the level of participation was really low.

Most people who were disappointed with Gerb have given up hope for Bulgaria.

Many young people say that they don't care, because they're going to leave Bulgaria anyway. They say all parties are the same and decided not to vote at all, because no matter who they choose, it would all be the same in the end.

The main problem for me right now is that I cannot find a job. I got a scholarship to study in Belgium for five months as part of my course, but the scholarship would only cover part of my expenses. I need to have savings and I am struggling to find work.

Who would want to stay here? No-one, that's why everyone is leaving. This worries me, because when the bright young people leave, our nation is not only thinning, but there's no-one left to make a stand against everything that is wrong in this country.

Hristo Ninov, 31, IT worker, Vratsa

I did exercise my right to vote, but I knew the elections were doomed.

Most of the people I know don't want any of the current major parties, all of which have governed Bulgaria at some point. People voted not in support of a particular party, but against someone they didn't want in power.

We want a new beginning where people will be protected from corruption, from the monopolists selling energy at impossible prices, or foreign supermarket chains suffocating local production.

I had hope for Bulgaria's entry in the EU. I thought European policies will prevail and the living standard will slowly improve to meet those in other EU countries.

I had hoped that Bulgaria would become a normal country. That didn't happen. If you were watching recent protests you would have noticed people chanting "mafia". Bulgaria is a mafia state!

The only positive thing to have come out lately is that more and more people are willing to protest.

Me and most of my friends have started looking into possibilities to leave the country. I really don't want to do that, but if the situation doesn't change, I will search for another place where I can raise my kids and have a normal life.

Iassen Trendafilov, 33, hotel manager, Sofia

Most of the problems for ordinary Bulgarians come from the state of our administration, which believe it or not, hasn't changed much since Zhivkov's time (Bulgaria's Soviet-era dictator Todor Zhivkov).

Everyone in the state bureaucracy still uses pencil and paper and all data is stored in paper files. That creates huge problems for businesses and households.

Even if you receive a decent income, every contact with the state - be it visiting the doctor, registering your car or paying your taxes, is a bureaucratic nightmare.

If you have to rely on the state for help - you are doomed!

I believe the majority of our problems are caused by the unwillingness of the state to modernise itself. There's lack of will because modernisation would eliminate corruption opportunities.

As for the elections - a lot of people have lost hope and see no point in voting. This creates a vicious circle, because people's inactivity leaves political parties to do whatever they please.

Blagovest Chopakov, 19, student, Petrich

The elections have passed and we are left with a big nothing. The mass protests of February (I was among the protesters) didn't change anything.

We ended up with the same old parties, same old faces.

I voted for BSP, not because they are great, but because for me they are the lesser evil. I didn't want the ruling Gerb to get another mandate.

The hope that these elections could change the status quo died out with the victory of the very party responsible for the current misery.

I doubt if any other country in Europe has been anywhere close to the conditions we live in, despite the economic crisis affecting the continent.

Bulgarians live on exceptionally low incomes yet the costs of electricity, water and food are constantly rising.

Corruption is a way of existence in every part of the state machine. Money under the table is often the only way to get something done.

But I do have a hope that we'll be able to push ourselves up from the bottom into a better, more prosperous future.

Interviews by Krassimira Twigg