Will Simeon Be Back?

Editorial |Author: Milena Hristova | June 13, 2011, Monday // 21:54|  views

Prior to June 2005 elections, it was all about whether the former king will become a former prime minister as well. Now it is all about whether the former king and former prime minister will become president.

Saxe-Coburg did well as prime minister 2001-2005. But partly because of a number of happy events, whose culmination coincided with his term in office. Bulgaria joined NATO and moved into the final section of the road towards EU accession after putting in years of efforts. The economy turned around thanks to an unprecedented property boom and the country's anticipated entry into the common market.

Anyway these were booming years for Bulgaria. So why did the voters punish his government back in 2005? Poor health-care system, low pensions and failure to live up to his promise to uproot corruption, combined with a few controversial deals and his legal battles to regain what is widely perceived as state-owned property gives the answer to that question.

Saxe-Coburg might have learned that blue blood is not a prerequisite for political longevity in Bulgaria, but what we all know is that blood is thicker than water. Deep down he does want to head towards the presidential office.

Lack of clear direction is the word that describes best today's center-right government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg's former bodyguard and current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The disoriented cabinet can be easily and rightfully blamed for the delay in Bulgaria's Schengen accession, failure to cope with crime and corruption, rising prices and falling investments.

The sense of chaos and instability reigning in the country now will not be ended with the upcoming elections in the autumn. But this is what Simeon may rely on to make the advantages of his term stand out.

Back in 2005 analysts forecast that having learned his lesson about political longevity, Saxe-Coburg probably expects the then Socialist-led cabinet to be live and kicking for no more than a year after which he may join the presidential race in 2006.

The prospects for this move appeared to be more than bright. His opponent, current President and former Socialist leader Georgi Parvanov, would have born the brunt of the people's discontent over the government failure. Making Saxe-Coburg's return on the political arena spectacular.

The former king however did not take the step back then. Will he take it now?

Most probably not. Even though his party members and his former bodyguard (current prime minister), who owe him big time, are trying to talk him into this, the risks are too high.

To start with, his former favorite party member, the lady who owes him her head-spinning career in Brussels, ex commissioner Meglena Kuneva, is clearly stealing the spotlight at the moment as the first official presidential candidate.

Amid suspicions about who really stands behind her, Kuneva risks to bid goodbye to the fairly spotless image she has enjoyed so far.

While Simeon has always acted with the shrewdness of a king.

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Tags: Parvanov, Georgi, Prime Minister, president, Simeon, Saxe-Coburg, Boyko, Borisov, Bulgaria, presidential, elections, Meglena, Kuneva, King


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