A growing desire to claw down corruption is expected to bring higher-than-average numbers of Bulgarians out to vote in the European Parliamentary elections.
The right-wing opposition party GERB is tipped to win most votes. Boiko Borisov, the mayor of Sofia, is quite popular, and his supporters feel he might be the man to finally start bringing the corrupt to justice. A sociology analyst in Sofia, against a backdrop of public ill will towards the Socialist-led government, over failures to improve Bulgaria’s record on justice and to apply EU standards generally, Boriana Dimitrova, said: “The economic crisis has taken hold in people’s minds as a fear, which has led into debate about how to stop corruption and abuse of EU funds.” The European voting in June will be a sort of dry run for Bulgarian national elections in July. The country has failed to convict a single senior official of corruption and has sent just one crime boss to prison since the fall of communism in 1989. Last year, the EU punished Sofia for failing to crack down effectively by freezing some 500 million euros in EU aid. Surveys show most Bulgarians approve of the EU measure and trust the EU institutions more than the Balkan country’s own parliament and government. Campaigning so far has mostly used television, the main topics reflecting national political confrontation.