100 Days of Protests in Bulgaria - Demands and Achievements

Society | October 16, 2020, Friday // 09:00|  views

Only a few hours remain until the beginning of the fifth Great People's Uprising in the heart of Bulgaria's capital Sofia. The event will mark the 100th day of the beginning of civil discontent against the government and the Chief Prosecutor. The organizers have been preparing for the largest event so far, but also has threatened from now on that their actions will enter a new phase.

100 days of protests - demands remain

In 100 days, the protesters' demands have not changed - they are demanding the resignation of the Government and the Chief Prosecutor, the introduction of remote and machine voting, early elections, and the convening of a Grand National Assembly to amend the Constitution.

For 100 days, the ruling party and the Chief Prosecutor refused to hear calls for resignation and a change in the system. They justify staying in power with the expected crisis due to the coronavirus and the need for a stable cabinet and Parliament to respond quickly and adequately.

In the last three months, however, instead of discussing anti-crisis measures, Parliament first went on holiday and then set about creating "urgent legislative changes" related to the voluntary barracks, the renaming of May 24, and, of course, the next patches of the Electoral Code. Along with all this, the deputies gain time in the cabinet with the doomed idea of ​​a new constitution - and all this against the background of constant attacks and exchange of qualifications such as "dumbers", and other expressions, which do not fit the height of the discussion that should be held in the Bulgarian Parliament.

The prime minister and the cabinet, on the other hand, hid well from the people's love and appeared only in selected media and in front of selected sympathizers (usually in some remote place - on villages and meadows). In an attempt to win another day and a vote, they generously untied their purses and began handing out money, without a clear plan for how the state would actually support the most affected Covid-19 industries and workers.

Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev is behaving similarly, pretending not to hear calls for resignation. Moreover, he introduced the prosecutor's office to the most functioning institutions and even fell victim to a conspiracy to neutralize it. At the same time, however, the state prosecution had, to put it mildly, a delayed reaction to Borisov's leaked recordings and photos, suspicions of a house in Barcelona, ​​the search for the missing Janek from Dupnitsa, and other not insignificant cases.

With this apathetic and brazen behavior of the authorities, it is becoming clearer with each passing day that the protests will not lead to the resignation of Borisov, Geshev, and the company. However, in 100 days the protests achieved serious results. Here are some of them:

What did the protests achieve?

"Major overhaul of the cabinet" - two weeks after the beginning of civil discontent, Borissov decided to part with four ministers - Vladislav Goranov (finance), Mladen Marinov (interior), Emil Karanikolov (economics), Nikolina Angelkova (tourism). However, their resignations did not calm the angry crowd, which announced a change in the model, not the replacement of some people with others. However, the end of Goranov's career as a finance minister has shown that Borissov is coming to an end, because he is ready to part with people close to him in the name of survival.

Resignations in the NSO and removal of the guards of Dogan and Peevski - shortly after the action of Hristo Ivanov near the "summer barns" of the honorary chairman of the MRF, the topic of the persons guarded by the NSO came to the surface again. This led to two things - the replacement of the head of the service and the refusal of Ahmed Dogan and MP Delyan Peevski from her services. Also, the state stopped the money of TPP "Varna" from the cold reserve, access to the beach in front of the "summer barns" was restored, and the road to them from private again became municipal.

Debate and resolution in the EP - As a result of much effort and perseverance, the problems in Bulgaria finally attracted the attention of Brussels. First, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) requested important answers from Borissov and Geshev, including on awkward topics. After that, the political crisis in our country became part of the agenda of the MEPs, and finally (despite many obstacles) the EP waved a finger at Sofia because of the deteriorating democracy and supported the protests. The European Parliament's resolution is a "red light" for Borissov, whose actions Brussels has turned a blind eye until recently. The document can be considered as a "historic breakthrough", as it is a signal of the bursting support of this government not only in our country but also abroad.

The awakening of intellectuals - An important moment was the "awakening of intellectuals." In the past, it was the native intelligentsia that was the basis of all significant processes in Bulgarian society, but today, First, ordinary people revolted, and only then scholars and cultural.
After nearly two months of passive monitoring of the crisis from the sidelines, in early October, for the first time, musicians, artists, journalists, and artists were unafraid to support the protests and demand a change in the governance model.

First Parliamentary questions to Geshev - on the eve of the 100th day since the beginning of the protests, the deputies dared to ask questions to the Prosecutor General. At their last meeting in mid-June, the MPs listened to the report of Prosecutor N:1 without asking him for any explanations or additions to the information provided to them.
Apparently, this time, inspired by the mass protests under the windows of power, the opposition has shown interest in the activities of the prosecutor's office in landmark cases since the beginning of Geshev's term. As expected or not, however, the Chief Prosecutor managed to outdo the deputies in their field and with enviable ease managed to get out of concrete answers in connection with the scandals that have been shaking the country for months.

Changing the situation - Perhaps the most important result of the ongoing 100-day protests is the change in the environment. Unlike in 2013, politicians today do not dare to ride civil discontent so easily. Not that there are no attempts, but everyone is one idea more cautious and does not appear on the podium. The protest is critical not only of Borissov and Geshev but also of anyone who tried reproducing the current model of government - that is why the square demanded claims for the personal resignations of the head of BNT, the speaker and deputy speaker of Parliament, Sofia's mayor and cabinet ministers.

It seems that the next Parliament (whenever elections are held) will be too colorful and compromises will have to be made. However, the protests also raised the bar of expectations for those who are preparing to take Borissov's place. That is why coalitions and agreements between parties will be increasingly difficult and will have to be argued to voters with more than just arithmetic./TopNovini.bg

 

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