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What’s New(s) – Bulgarian elections – 19/11/2021

Écrit par sur 19 novembre 2021

What´s New(s)? La revue de presse anglophone – Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen

Sunday was the third day the Bulgarians hit the polls this year to cast their vote in the national elections. After the previous two, the winning parties did not succeed in forming a new government. What did European media write about the outcomes of these special elections?

You’ll find the script below:

Well like most European media underlined; there was one unexpected winner of this year’s third national elections: the new political party “We Will Continue the Change”. The party, described by Reuters as centrist and anti-graft, was founded only two months ago by Harvard-educated entrepreneurs Kiril Petkov and Asen Vasilev. According to Christain Oliver in POLITICO, the duo owes their popularity to their strong anti-corruption stance, and pledge to divert improperly allocated millions to education and healthcare. “Now is the time to show that Bulgaria has embarked on the road of change and there is no turning back” stated Petkov himself, quoted by France24. 

Indeed, a big win for Petkov’s party, but this also implicated an important loss for Bulgaria’s established parties, isn’t it?

Indeed, according to the outcomes published by newspaper Dnevnik, former governing party GERB became second, losing about 1% of the votes compared to the last elections in July. The populist ITN – There is Such a People – Party, founded by singer and talk-show host Slavi Trifonov, lost about half of its votes, and liberal party Democratic Bulgaria got only 6% of the votes, a big loss compared to the last elections. These poor results led to the resignation of several party leaders, wrote the Sofia Globe, including Hristo Ivanov and Atanas Atanassov, of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, and Christian Vigenin of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). 

And can this surprise winner make an end to the political deadlock?

Well, many European news outlets at least look with prudent optimism at the outcomes of the elections, in terms of possibilities to form a new government. According to Financial Times, the outcomes could indeed make an end to the stalemate in the Balkan nation. The “We Will Continue Change Party” has various potential coalition partners and said to take an open approach in the negotiations. Potential partners have also shown their willingness to cooperate, stated Christian Oliver in POLITICO, including Democratic Bulgaria and There is Such a People. If the elected parties can succeed in forming a new government, they will immediately face the difficult task of tackling the country’s Coronavirus outbreak. The country is the least vaccinated in the EU, with less than one-third of all adults fully vaccinated, wrote France24, while the Delta variant has led to the world’s highest mortality rate, stated Financial Times. 

But then coming back to an event we discussed last time, one of the most reported on these weeks, any updates on the COP?

Expectations were high, but a series of last-minute changes changed the outcome of the conference. Maria Tadeo, Bloomberg correspondent in Europe, highlights how India watered down at the last minute the language used in reference to coal, from phasing coal out to phasing it down. Editorials from the main European newspapers agree on the lack of ambition of the agreements. According to The Guardian, the best thing about the Glasgow agreement is the chance it offers for tougher emissions cuts next year. El País points out that this COP “is not a radical change nor does it invite any optimism, but it is a way of creating support instruments to advance along the necessary path”. French Newspaper Le Monde argues that the deep North-South divide persists, “when the rich talk about energy transition, the poor simply ask for access to energy”.

Lastly, taking a look at the news no one wants to hear about, but starts seeping in the front pages again, what about the state of the new COVID wave hitting Europe?

Bad week for all those who thought the pandemic was over. François Murphy in Reuters notes that Austria has been the first country in Europe to reinstate movement restrictions, with its partial confinement of unvaccinated people. In Belgium, newspaper Le Soir leaked a series of measures that the government is considering taking, such as a mandatory return to home working or the closure of nightlife venues. Similar to what happens in the Netherlands, what BBC calls ‘Lockdown lite’, which will limit social contacts. According to this media outlet, most people in the Netherlands “reluctantly agree that sacrificing parts of their social lives can contribute to the greater good”. In POLITICO, Hellen Collins questions the validity of the COVID passport, which might have been giving a sensation of false reassurance, among fears of immunity waning after 5 months of the second dose. 

Source : Tim Pierce / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).


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