Exactly one third has passed since the formal start of another election campaign. In fact, as is well known, it began far before that. In addition to the parties, one more party – the president – is undoubtedly involved in it.
Right from the beginning of his first term, Rumen Radev clearly showed that his presidential institution is narrow and wants real power. But then he was good for the opposition, because he unequivocally stood against GERB, and his raised fist during the protests became a symbol of his interference in the political life of the country. And his first caretaker government was filled with attacks on Borisov’s party and produced the new political project, later called “We continue the change”.
Today we again have a caretaker government, again entirely led by the president and again with open attacks on the former rulers – this time his own spawn. And at a time of several crises and a crying need for a stable majority and government. Then?
Social media have the property of exaggerating processes and phenomena under a magnifying glass. For example, I question Radev’s direct and unconditional commitment to Russia. If so, it would hardly have favored Kiril Petkov and Asen Vassilev, since both had the clear and unequivocal support of the US and the “Koziak” embassy. There is no logic, it does not connect. The same applies to the negotiations with “Gazprom” and Russia’s insulting-contemptuous attitude towards us. Radev would hardly have sharpened his attitude towards the leader of the distinctly pro-Russian BSP – Kornelia Ninova – to the point of intolerance.
Here we come to the crux of the matter – why did the president practically fall out with all the major parties from GERB to PP to BSP?
To return to the beginning and the clear signs that Radev gave that his presidential robe is tight and he wants real executive power. There were many theories and suspicions that he was making his own long-term party project, that he was supporting and favoring individual parties, that he was trying in every possible way to influence the government of the country.
In fact, this happened precisely during the caretaker governments. In practice, although we are a parliamentary republic, most of the time after the last regular elections on April 4, 2021, Radev rules alone. Its strength lies in the divided society and the opposition of the political parties brought to a literal impasse. The president knows perfectly well that the GERB are in political isolation and, at least according to the sociological polls so far, cannot form a government. That is why the criticisms towards them are muted and episodic. The other possibility is a triple coalition between PP, DB and BSP. The head of state’s attacks are directed at them. They must be compromised in such a way that they fail to gather a majority even of the cherished 121 MPs. This leads to the impossibility of forming a majority and a government, and again leading to early elections and a new three-month rule by Radev.
Many will argue that the president does not need to govern in crises and the looming harsh winter without parliament. But then the parties will again be in an election campaign, they will attack each other with slander and accusations, and the blame for the difficult situation will again be theirs for not being able to understand each other.
The goal now is to prove that none of the existing parties are capable of governing and only the president can pull the country out of the mud. Suspicions that Radev will implement his own political project have not disappeared at all. In just one year, 2 such were created – PP and “Bulgarian Rise”. And the head of state has more than 4 years until the end of his mandate. Because by all accounts, the president has no intention of retiring and withdrawing from real politics, as his predecessors did.
Whether this hypothesis is true or not, the future will tell. However, it is an indisputable fact that in a time of severe division in society, Rumen Radev, instead of working for the unity of the nation, is a catalyst for its disunity. And as the ancient Romans said: “Divide and conquer.”