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A defendant can ruin the electoral chances of ‘Democratic Bulgaria’

Desislava Ivancheva with handcuffs [Dnevnik]

By Krassen Nikolov

The pro-European center-right coalition Democratic Bulgaria will face an unexpected rival while trying to pass the threshold of 5.9% at the European elections so that it could have at least one MEP. The former district mayor of Sofia’s Mladost district Desislava Ivancheva announced that she would run for the European elections as an independent candidate. The problem of Democratic Bulgaria is that they and the former district mayor are fighting for the same people’s votes. And that might turn out to impact heavily on the election results.

Ivancheva has already been nominated by an initiative committee called “The disobedient”. To participate in the elections she still needs to gather 2,500 signatures.

“There is no doubt that Ivancheva is the most suitable candidate for an independent Bulgarian MEP. She proved that she defends the rights of the citizens despite the dirty games of the mafia. She reveals frauds. And she wins,” declared the “The disobedient”.

In 2016 Ivancheva won surprisingly the mayoral elections of Mladost district. She defeated the GERB candidate. 30,000 people from only this district voted for her. She will need more than 120,000 votes in order to become a MEP.

The goal seems unachievable at the moment. But Ivancheva’s motivation is to prove that she is supported by many people despite that she is accused of bribery and is a defendant right now. She was arrested in an extraordinary demonstrative way in the spring of 2018.

Ivancheva was handcuffed for more than five hours in the center of Sofia so that everyone could see her. She was charged that she tried to obtain a €70,000 bribe from the owner of a construction company. Then she was removed from the position. She stayed in the arrest for eight months although that aggravated her health problems. Thus she got the aura of a victim of the repressive state apparatus. Now Ivancheva is under house arrest and the case is developing well for her. A day ago a key prosecution witness said that he had been pressed by those in power to testify against Ivancheva. So she got an extra bonus for her election battle.

Due to the imposed restriction on Ivancheva’s movement and lack of funding, her campaign is likely to be the first in Bulgaria to unfold on social networks only.

She claims that the investigation against her is the result of a plot by GERB and the prosecution, a revenge for her anticorruption stance as a district mayor. Many people tend to believe her because she is a politically independent figure, and the overbuilding in Mladost district began again after she was removed from the position.

Democratic Bulgaria has so far supported Ivancheva in her fight against the prosecution. Many of the people who vote for the coalition sympathize with her. Now, however, the former mayor becomes a huge problem for the coalition.

The latest Alpha Research survey shows that Democratic Bulgaria has the support of 5.1% of the people who intend to vote in the European elections. Although slowly, the support for the urban right has been increasing in recent months. The chances seemed good after the former Democrats for Strong Bulgaria leader Radan Kanev has topped the list. He is liked by the urban right voters.

However, the participation of Ivancheva could take away a decisive 10 to 20,000 votes from Democratic Bulgaria since the coalition relies mostly on the votes from Sofia. According to information obtained by this website, coalition representatives have already contacted Ivancheva’s campaign office to ask what is going on and what the former mayor’s goal is.

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