By Georgi Gotev
Vesselin Mareshki, a businessman turned politician who gained international notoriety for being the Bulgarian political ally of Marine Le Pen, announced that he will run for mayor of Sofia. Municipal elections will be held in Bulgaria in October.
Vesselin Mareshki, leader of the populist party Volya, was chosen by Marine Le Pen as her political partner in Bulgaria, a country she visited twice in the run-up to the European elections. As this website predicted, this “investment” was a miscalculation. Although Mareshki overspent in terms of campaigning, he got 3.62%, quite far from the 5.88% needed to pass the threshold for European elections, which is quite high in Bulgaria.
“We analysed the elections results. People didn’t go to vote, because they are disgusted by the political system and the misunderstanding about the European elections. We were short of 30,000 votes
[to pass the threshold]
. Our analysis says people didn’t want to send me to Brussels, they wanted me to stay in Bulgaria”, Mareshki said.
“The other element is that we didn’t succeed in buying enough Roma votes and to win Roma’s love. Now I’m following classes in this subject. My teacher is Krassimir Karakachanov.”
Vote-buying is a common practice in elections in Bulgaria. In the European elections campaign, Mareshki has repeatedly taken aim at Karakachanov, leader of VMRO, one of the nationalist parties in the so-called ‘United Patriots’, the junior coalition party of Boyko Borissov’s GERB. Karakachanov is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, responsible for law enforcement. According to official data, VMRO has overspent in the European election campaign, and some reports suggest it has also engaged in vote-buying.
Mareshki said the municipal elections would be “a big show”.
“I hear that Maya Manolova and Slavi Trifonov will run”, he added.
Maya Manolova, the country’s Ombudsman, is expected to run as the candidate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, although no official announcements were made. Manolova is one of the most popular politicians in Bulgaria. The incumbent mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova (GERB) is also expected to run, although she hasn’t announced her candidacy.
Slavi Trifonov is a TV showman, who has been tipped several times to be the next “miracle-maker” in Bulgarian politics. Mareshki himself fits well in this category.