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Between the future and the past: Bulgaria votes


Between the future and the past: Bulgaria votes


Socialist and Russia-friendly Kornelia Ninova is set to mount a strong challenge for Bulgaria’s prime ministership on Sunday.

The economy has been central to the campaign, with Bulgaria carrying the unenviable title of the poorest EU member-state…and its most corrupt. Brussels estimates some 20% of the country’s GDP is squirrelled away by unscrupulous politicians and administrators – something Ms Ninova has vowed to change. The socialist has branded her opponent, Boyko Borisov – a former PM who’s led Bulgaria for the better part of eight years – “a thief” for being complicit in the looting of state coffers, a charge the former PM denies.

Ninova has also called for the warming of ties with Russia, insisting that, although Bulgaria is a NATO member, the pursuit of strong ties with Moscow is in the “national interest”.

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She may be right. The Kremlin has repeatedly outlined plans to run huge natural gas pipelines through Bulgaria, giving the poor Balkan state a geopolitical power not seen for centuries. For this reason, the socialists say they’ll oppose the extension of EU sanctions against Russia, a message that’s been well received among older voters who hanker for an idealised past.

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