By Krassen Nikolov
The ruling party GERB and the small right-wing Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) will run in coalition for the upcoming European elections. The agreement was signed this morning (20 March) between the leaders of the parties – Boyko Borissov and Rumen Hristov. This is the first time GERB goes to national elections in a coalition.
SDS will get two seats in the GERB’s list. Vladimir Kisyov from SDS will be on an eligible position. 19 years ago he was chief negotiator for Bulgaria’s EU membership and is also a former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“I can only encourage you (for the work on the new coalition). I have too much work to do in party affairs, “Borissov said and transferred the work on the additional agreements of his right hand in GERB Tsvetan Tsvetanov. Borissov is flying to Brussels today for an EPP congress in which a vote to expel Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz from the European People’s Party is expected, and for a key EU summit on Thursday and Friday, where Brexit features high in the agenda.
“We rely on your wisdom,” said Borissov to Kisyov. The two worked perfectly together while Borissov was the mayor of Sofia and Kisyov was the chairman of the local municipal council. The SDS leader Rumen Hristov said after the meeting that there should be no votes lost from the parties that are members of the European People’s Party.
A coalition with SDS is a very old goal of Borissov. In the past 15 years the Union of Democratic Forces has shrunk to the brink of survival. Polls put the support for the party at 1-2 percent. Nevertheless, the party makes people nostalgic for the early years of the transition when it was the main force in the country’s bipartisan model together with the Bulgarian Socialist Party. SDS led Bulgaria out of the severe economic crisis in 1996 and made first steps towards EU and NATO membership.
For this reason, Borissov has repeatedly stated that the “SDS brand” is important for him. The coalition will bring only benefits for GERB and mostly negatives for the democratic center-right coalition Democratic Bulgaria, which includes the former SDS partners – Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, Green Party and “Yes Bulgaria” of the former Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov . This could split the votes for the small right-wing parties and give GERB an important advantage over BSP.
A day ago, Democratic Bulgaria announced that it would not enter in coalition for the European elections with SDS because of its negotiations with GERB.
“Unfortunately, through a series of decisions, statements and actions, the current SDS leaders obviously chose to be with those who are in power and the” Borissov model”. It makes it impossible to continue the process of seeking a formula for interaction”, declared Democratic Bulgaria.
“We declare that our opponents are and will always be bearers of the present corrupt and authoritarian model in the face of today’s ruling and so-called parliamentary opposition. We hope that the authentic holders of the SDS emblems will come back to their roots and we will be able to continue working together for a strong European and democratic family,” Democratic Bulgaria stated.