by gradinski chai
Mon Jun 27th, 2005 at 03:02:18 AM EST
promoted from the diaries by Jerome. This is the other important election of the week-end...
Bulgarians allowed the extreme right into parliament in Saturday's voting in the form of the anti-Roma, anti-EU/US "Attack" movement. The group took about 8.2% of the vote and is likely to see some 22 seats in Bulgaria's 240 member parliament. This makes it the fourth largest group in a seven party parliament. The number of parties entering also the largest that we've seen in the past three elections.
People at our election watch party on Saturday night were amazed, angry, and maybe a little amused by Attack's entry.
Watching the press conference of the "Attack" group in the wee hours of Sunday morning was an experience full of enough historical analogies to make one a little uneasy...the low turnout election (55.6% is low for Bulgaria)...the divided electorate sending a number of small parties to parliament, and the difficulty of forming a governing coalition with these electoral results.
The only thing that I can say is that the journalists at this press conference did the profession proud. They asked tough questions and tried to follow up when they were being fed empty air and words with no meaning designed solely to sound good. They started getting a little irritated at the flippant remarks and started asking their own more pointed and ironic questions. It was clear that the Attack leader could not handle their questions. The reporters were really having none of it and the situation was getting more tense. The Attack delegation abruptly left when a brave reporter from Bulgarian National Radio asked something to the effect of "Since you're not going to answer any substantive question, I have another serious question for you...when was the last time you saw your psychiatrist?" The room erupted in laughter and applause.
Early in the evening, I was worried by Attack having a legitimate platform to spit their venom. I'm less worried now because they really have nothing substantive to say. Ask a policy question; they can't respond.
American journalists could learn from Bulgarian journalists at this press conference. If they had asked the tough questions that were being asked and if they had not allowed non-answers to pass for answers, the world would be a better place right now.
Roma voters voted for the traditionally Turkish MRF in much larger numbers than usual. It's still too early to know if we're seeing something develop here.
At present it looks like the following distribution of seats (unofficial):
BG Socialist Party (82)
Simeon II's Movement (52)
MRF (Turkish party) (33)
Attack (extreme right) (22)
UDF (center right) (20)
Dems for Strong BG (right) (17)
BG People's Union (center right) (14)
The socialists will be asked to form a government. The MRF has already said yes. (This preelection announcement that the Socialists and the MRF would be willing to form a coaltion is seen as having cost the Socialists about 4-5% of their expected vote, which went to Attack. Talks are underway with Simeon's party. It's likely that someone from Simeon's party will be the prime minister (but maybe not Simeon).
For even more info, you can check out English language news on the subject at http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=49192.