Bulgarian Politicians - the Lost Dignity of the Loss
On October 30, in elections runoff, Bulgaria chose its new president – Rosen Plevneliev.
Official results are in - 47-year-old Rosen Plevneliev, former Regional Minister and candidate of the ruling center-right party GERB, won with 52.58% of the votes cast. His opponent from the Bulgarian Socialist Party Ivaylo Kalfin lost by a relatively narrow margin – he got 47.2% of the vote.
Plevneliev is known abroad, speaks foreign languages, has never been a member of a political party or tangled with shady figures. A self-made businessman, he has accumulated his wealth thanks to his own abilities and effort. Being rich is still considered a sin by many in Bulgaria, but it means he would not be tempted by corruption scams. The only shadow cast on his image are fears he will be a puppet in the hands of Prime Minister and GERB leader, Boyko Borisov, known for his unstoppable ambition and rather authoritarian style.
Plevneliev has reiterated many times that he is his own man – now he is facing the difficult task and the challenge to prove this stated independence.
Regardless, he is president-elect of Bulgaria. The Winner.
The losers, however, refuse to concede. Demands for ballot recount and recall of results are pouring in from everywhere and from almost any party that ran, even from GERB, despite their convincing victory in local elections as well.
The one word to describe the reaction of the opposition is blame. The Blue Coalition co-Chairs, Martin Dimitrov and Ivan Kostov blame each other for the crushing defeat and for killing the country's right-wing; BSP are accusing the ethnic Turkish leader, Ahmed Dogan, of not fulfilling his vows for strong endorsement of their candidates at runoff.
No one is accepting responsibility for the loss; no one plans to resign. And, of course, all together are blaming it on GERB with claims of vote buying, pressure, police brutality and fear.
Sadly and unfortunately, the latter have marred all "democratic" elections since the fall of Communism. The Office of the Chief Prosecutor announced the picture of committed election crime has not been any different than before. Also sadly, Bulgarians never now if the prosecution is telling the truth... It will remain uncertain how GERB won.
An opponent is yet to congratulate Plevneliev, but the bashing continues.
The year was 2008 – in the US, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama were running in an unprecedented presidential race. On Election Night, as soon as it became clear that America had elected it first black president, McCain appeared before hometown supporters at the Arizona Biltmore to concede the race to Obama, congratulating his opponent on a "historic" victory and applauding his perseverance.
At the mention of Obama's name, McCain's supporters booed and hissed, but he quickly silenced the catcalls, telling them he would not allow anyone to boo America's President.
Here is what John McCain said:
"The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly ...That he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who once wrongly believed they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving. This is a historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight."
Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt, many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight that I will do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face. I urge all Americans who supported me to join not only in congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and honest effort to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences."
A lesson for home-bread politicians they stubbornly refuse to learn.