Is Tsetska Tsacheva a Warm-Up for Boyko Borisov's Presidential Term in 2021?
Tsetska Tsacheva, the Bulgarian Parliament Speaker, is the main ruling party GERB’s nominee torun in the presidential elections on November 06.
Proposed by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov who is the leader of GERB, she was tipped as a victor even before her identity was revealed, withopinion polls which showed over fifty percent of voters would cast a ballot for the candidate of Borisov's party, regardless of who is running.
Judging Borisov's plans, Tsacheva is seen as a "warm-up" for the time he enters the presidential race in 2021 as he has already declared intention to run for the office in five years.
But recent polls have suggested a tight race with her main opponent, socialist-backed candidate Rumen Radev, in the first round and a possible loss in the runoff vote.
Like most of the other candidates, she has been criticized for a lackluster performance in the campaign and not managing to send strong messages other than unity and the need to keep Bulgaria on the EU and NATO track.
Together with Radev, she has also sparked anger among other candidates by not showing up at debates among the handful of frontrunners.
Tsetska Tsacheva has presided over the National Assembly of Bulgaria two times - in the first cabinet of Boyko Borisov (July 14, 2009 - March 14, 2013) and in the second one (starting October 17, 2014).
She was elected Parliament Speaker by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers, with 227 people having voted "for" and three having abstained. A similar support for her second Parliament Speaker candidacy was gathered in 2014, when 219 MPs voted for her, 12 against, and one abstained.
Tsacheva, who is a member of GERB's Executive Committee (the party's top decision-making body), had been tipped for a presidential candidate for several months after party officials suggested their their nominee was likely to be female.
She was also an expected candidate given her record within the party – Tsacheva has not yet embroiled herself in any major conflicts within GERB, and her name has not been mentioned in controversial affairs, unlike Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova or Borisov's deputy within the party, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
After so much talk about the "father of the nation", it was high time that a "mother" appears as well, Borisov commented before unveiling her name, after a notion appeared in the public that a president should symbolize unity and act as "the father of the nation".
Tsacheva, at the same time, was apparently nominated using the method of exclusion, judging from Borisov's words.
While he had ruled himself out to avoid chaos in governance and "political desertion", the mayors of Sofia and Burgas, Yordanka Fandakova and Dimitar Nikolov, and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev had also been considered, Borisov made it clear. In his words, while a win of either of the two mayors would bring about local elections in their respective city, Donchev is too important for the cabinet, the PM explained.
Born in 1958 in a village near Lovech in Northern Bulgaria, she began working as a lawyer in 1992, taking over the legal counsel of Pleven municipality in the early 2000s.
Prior to the democratic changes, she was a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP) and says she bears no shame as the party way was the only one for those willing to receive proper education and other benefits.
She left the office at Pleven municipality after a scandal with Nayden Zelenogorski, now MP with the Reformist Blic and then Pleven Mayor, who accused her of acting agaist her employer's interest by providing legal assitance to both the local administration and lawsuit opponents.
In the local elections in 2007 - a year after Borisov had set up his party - she was elected municipal councillor on GERB's ticket.
Two years later, in 2009, she made it into Parliament in a majority contest (some of the seats in that vote were in single-member constituencies, despite Bulgaria's proportial voting system) with former Interior Minister Rumen Petkov.
Married to an architect who now works for the Bulgarian Air Traffic Services Authority (BULATSA), Tsacheva is also the mother of a young mathematician who has an asteroid named after him - Rumen Dangovski - after he won Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a global science and engineerign competition.
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