Bulgarian-Turks split over early elections

Bulgarian-Turks split over early elections

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Bulgarian-Turks split over early elections

A protester waves a Bulgarian flag during an anti-government demo in Sofia. Despite the rising anti-gov’t rallies, ethnic Turks are divided on early polls. AFP photo

Bulgaria’s Turkish minority parties have mixed opinions about the early election demands of protesters in the country, with a coalition member party deputy dismissing the need for fresh polls as a newly established party expresses hopes for a return to the ballot box.

Tunçer Kırcaliev, a deputy of Bulgarian minority party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (HÖH), told the Hürriyet Daily News today that early elections would be a disadvantage for the country. “I am sure that there won’t be early elections before the end of this year. The two parties in the government have been democratically elected. [Early elections] would have negative effects on the economy and social life,” said Kırcaliev, adding that these were his personal opinions.

He also accused the former ruling GERB party for backing the protests.

“As politicians, we may make mistakes. But spreading hate is much worse than any mistake,” Kırcaliev also said in response to the criticisms made by the protesters against the government.

Meanwhile, Korman İsmailov, the leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Dignity (HŞHP), another minority party that is mostly made up of Turks, said they believed early elections would take place, adding that the ongoing anti-government protests would increase in September.

İsmailov told the Daily News that they were in contact with other parties in order to increase their five-party reform bloc in preparation for an early election.

The HŞHP is part of a reform bloc, which also includes the right-wing Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (DSB), the Blue Coalition, Greens Party and Movement Bulgaria of the Citizens.

“We participate in the protests. We are holding meetings with other parties who might join in our bloc. The parties in Parliament believe that an election will not change the current political spectrum. We believe exactly the opposite, and we will bring an alternative to the people,” İsmailov also said.

The five-party reform bloc was established in December last year but could not enter Parliament in the May 12 elections.

Balkan Turks Culture and Solidarity Association head Bayram Çolakoğlu also said the protests were likely to continue and that this might lead to an early election. Çolakoğlu told the Daily News that nationalist spirits against minority parties were increasing at the protests, saying this could result in the rise of nationalist parties in an early election.


SOFIA – Agence France-Presse

Embattled Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski today urged protesters demanding his resignation to refrain from violence, two days after stone-throwing demonstrators trapped lawmakers inside parliament for hours.

In a statement issued after protesters marched through the streets of Sofia for the 41st straight on the evening of July 24, the premier urged “consensus to find a way out of the crisis” and said he was determined to seek public agreement and dialogue.

“I appeal to the citizens protesting in the name of democratic values to allow no more provocations and to draw a clear line between freedom and the right to express their opinions and the attempts to violate law and order,” Oresharski said.

 He said peaceful protests had given way to “open acts of vandalism, street barricades, physical clashes and provocation of the law enforcement authorities.”

The non-partisan premier, whose minority cabinet took office in late May backed by the Socialists and the Turkish minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party, has come under massive pressure to resign by thousands of Bulgarians pressing for a new election.

People in the EU’s poorest country are highly critical of the political classes, condemned as corrupt and beholden to oligarchs.