Tatyana Doncheva, the 'Manly' Presidential Candidate

Novinite Insider | October 16, 2016, Sunday // 14:25
Bulgaria: Tatyana Doncheva, the 'Manly' Presidential Candidate File photo, BGNES

Novinite publishes profiles of presidential candidates running in the forthcoming elections on November 06.

We have decided to publish one more profile (after those of candidates with the five best results according to opinion polls) - that of Tatyana Doncheva, the head of Movement 21 which portrays itself as left-wing, being actually the third left-of-center candidacy in this vote after Rumen Radev and Ivaylo Kalfin.

A few words have to be said about Doncheva after a second opinion poll gave us a better result than the one projected for Traycho Traykov.

Tatyana Doncheva, a lawyer, a former member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and one-time prosecutor, splintered off the BSP in 2011 to form her own organization, Movement 21.

Doncheva fought her own way into politics over the past decade, having even faced Prime Minister Boyko Borisov back in 2005's local elections in SOfia. She made it to the second round, but lost to Borisov, with her support standing at 31.5%. At the time she had been lawmaker in two Parliaments and was into her third term in the legislation, but did not win a fourth one in 2006.

In one of the last elections, she portrayed herself as "the only man in Bulgarian politics," in an environment where women increasingly take up key offices but "masculine" behaviour is still considered more socially acceptable.

Doncheva's critics blame her for having worked as a lawyer for Multigroup a business conglomerate in Bulgaria that was especially active in the 1990s and was known as a massive criminal syndicate enjoying state protection.

Doncheva, however, argues she will do her best to eradicate some of the system's vices if she gets elected.

A guaranteed minimum income, a business-friendly environment and commitment to judicial reform should be the causes advocated by Bulgaria's head of state, she has argued.

In earlier elections, when judicial reform had not yet begun, one of her main pledges (when running for Parliament) was to take the prosecutor's office out of the judicial system to make both more effective.

An amateur violin player, she says that assuming a public office is like playing an instrument. "There are people who hit notes and people who play music," she has told Dnevnik. Doncheva makes this point to state that a President does not need to have their competences expanded.

She claims Bulgaria's government is not successful in balancing between the West and Russia, toning up domestic rhetoric to appease Russophiles and lowering their heads at EU and NATO meetings without clearly indicating its interests. 

Doncheva sparked controversy with her decision to run on her own, after having declared intentions to take part in a joint left-of-center nomination together with the BSP and its rival, Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) of the 2002-2012 President Georgi Parvanov. After plans for the alliance were foiled, she announced her own bid, drawing accusations that she only added to the fracturing of Bulgaria's left-wing vote.

What makes her candidacy important is that in a race as tight as the presidential elections' first round and in an even more dramatic runoff - if Gallup projections are to be believed - the 3-to-4-percent support she is likely to "drain" from swing voters on November 06 might turn out decisive.

Her running mate, Mincho Spasov, is a former lawmaker from NDSV party, the political organization founded by Bulgaria's last King and former PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha back in 2001.



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Tags: Tatyana Doncheva, Movement 21, Presidential elections

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