Socialist Love in the Time of Financial Cholera
The current Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev was reelected as the Party Chair. Even the former communist dictator Comrade Todor Zhivkov could envy Stanishev for his overwhelming victory - he got 97,5% of the votes, and was the only candidate!
Oddly enough (or not so oddly), the Congress of Bulgaria's ruling party contained no debates whatsoever about some of the pressing issues facing the nation:
The suspended EU funds; the corruption; the organized crime; the incapable state administration; the century-long lagging behind in research and development; the distorted structure of the economy; the imbalanced regional development; the missing infrastructure; the environmental destruction; the impotent army, police, and security forces; the terrible image of the country within the EU and beyond; the failing education and the unfunded science; the bad-quality health care; the dissolution of basic morality within the Bulgarian society...
...To name but just a few issues that come to mind on the spur of the moment...
Clearly, against this background, the socialists are totally justified in spending their time acclaiming each other and voting in absolutely absurd "elections". Bulgaria simply has no major issues which need at least to be debated. Certainly not by the governing party.
One other thing comes to mind, though. If none of the above seems of any significance to the socialists, one other issue is rapidly starting to affect Bulgaria.
The global financial crisis and its effects can already be seen and felt across the country. Several thousand workers from large and medium-sized Bulgarian factories producing mostly for exports have already been laid off.
Dozens of thousands more workers will likely be given the sack in the months to come when Bulgaria will be hit hardest by the crisis effects, which spread like a cholera-like disease.
But while the proletariat is increasingly left unemployed, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which prides itself in being the descendant of the Bulgarian socialist tradition (and of the former communist tradition, for that matter), is not even debating, let alone taking any measures whatsoever to alleviate the potentially destructive effects of the raging crisis.
The only measure that the Bulgarian workers (and all other Bulgarians) can expect from the party, which used to be called "Bulgarian Workers' Party" between 1927 and 1947, is an overly optimistic draft budget for 2009 crafted in fruitful cooperation with the allies from the tripartite coalition.
The main message of the socialist Congress then was not some clear analysis of the country's problems or a vision of inspired and intelligent leadership in the times of crisis.
It was the unyielding love for their party even in the time of grave issues and global crunch. They just told us they wanted to bestow upon us another mandate of their rule - that they wanted to give us another four years of the same...
We can only wish them - and the other Bulgarian political parties - good luck. Though it seems the Bulgarian nation will be needing this luck the most...
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