“Mediocre will not stop their own kind and will encourage those worse than themselves. Therefore, closed communities cannot improve themselves and from within.”
This quote by the late public figure Assoc. Christian Takov was one of the most shared on social networks on the day GERB nominated former journalist and TV presenter Anton Hekimyan as a candidate for mayor of Sofia. The occasion – the huge surprise that this political move caused both among political parties and members of the public, as well as among the voters who will vote on October 29.
I would like to contrast this surprise with at least two other cases where there were many “surprised”. In just the last two years, Borissov has hardly experimented and presented at first glance shocking candidates, which subsequently turned out to be well-thought-out moves. Let’s just recall the names of the rector of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” Prof. Anastas Gerdzhikov in his role as a presidential candidate, or the prominent physician Prof. Nikolay Gabrovski, who was a candidate for Prime Minister.
Apparently, through this attempt to attract popular and generally approved names for his persons, Borisov shows that he is able to clear his reputation not only within the party through the partners in the government and through the “assembly”, but also from the outside – with the support of public-popular persons who to help this process also as non-partisan, even in some sense apolitical people from society.
Leave everyone’s independence here
Not only in my capacity as a political analyst, but especially in my role as a journalist, I find the candidacy extremely problematic from a media point of view. It seems to me that the effects will be adverse not only to our colleagues at bTV, but also to the media environment as a whole, and the worst seems to be yet to come.
In such confusing moments, I often like to offer a possible way out of incomprehensible situations and solutions – it is enough just to look from the side and imagine for a moment what the headlines in the foreign media look like for this news. Let me try: “A former head of news at one of the largest television stations in Bulgaria is a candidate for mayor of the capital from the party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.”
There were also defenders who made comparisons between Hekimyan and… Slavi Trifonov. In fact, on the whole, the initial defensive theses, which we have already heard and foresee as future campaign leitmotifs, sound frivolous:
journalists entered politics and were successful (Asen Agov, Iliyana Yotova, Toma Bikov, etc.) – a thesis mentioned several times already by key persons of GERB; Anton Hekimyan cannot be held responsible for the failures of the administration in Sofia so far – a thesis mentioned by Hekimyan himself.
At the last moment
The thesis that Hekimyan’s candidacy was announced quite late has already been confirmed several times in the public space. In this way, at least three effects were achieved by GERD:
They missed the preliminary time of the campaign in which to impose the image of their candidate for mayor in his role as one. It is possible that GERB deliberately shortened the time in which this candidacy would receive widespread disapproval. Borisov created huge public attention and interest in the nomination – for more than a week the whole country was excited about his party’s candidate for the capital, which is a good PR move.
Let’s just recall that one of the many ideas behind the strategy of early announcement of the candidacy of Anton Hekimyan’s main opponent – Vasil Terziev, was aimed at softening the kind of blow that his past and his family’s history with State Security inflicted. I open a parenthesis to emphasize that perhaps the parties that nominated Terziev seemed to underestimate the effect of this topic and it took away a lot of the energy and potential of the candidacy. As if like a worm, DS continues to dig into the apple from the inside, turning the entire campaign of Vasil Terziev into a real apple of discord. I close the bracket.
More: Global Terziev vs. patriotic Hekimyan: Is this the big clash in Sofia? (VIDEO)
What happened to Georgi Georgiev?
Against this background, the choice of the leader of GERB as a candidate for mayor remains misunderstood, when you have in front of you a proven figure in the metropolitan municipality in the person of the current chairman of the municipal council, Georgi Georgiev. Recognizable, bold, initiative, academic, prosaic – all these qualities built the image of Georgiev as a person who not only takes care of the capital and its citizens, but also shows political foresight in front of his opponents.
In this sense, we are witnessing a continuous deinstitutionalization of political life, which is unlikely to lead us to anything good. The overall climate at the top of the local vote in Sofia shows us strong candidacies of non-political persons in the main lists – first GERB counted half new persons in the lists and non-party ones, then they nominated a journalist for mayor (Anton Hekimyan). On the other side, we have a successful billionaire and businessman (Vasil Terziev) again at the head of a motley list of experts and non-politically connected persons. On the third side, we have a bright trade unionist and a person with solid positions who can only help the political representatives who stand behind him (Vanya Grigorova).
However, the old political maxim remains true that when you play the local vote, you always present a candidate who is presumptively a candidate for the second round.
Author: Ivaylo Iliev