Bulgaria Faces Another General Election – Generic English

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A plethora of upstart populist parties promising a new start have come and gone over the years, diluting support for more mainstream forces. Attack, a party led by a far-right television presenter, briefly surged but has now been replaced on the ultranationalist flank by Revival, which, according to opinion polls, has gone from being a tiny fringe outfit in 2021 to become the country’s third most popular party.

Bulgaria’s most enduring would-be savior is Boyko Borissov, a three-time prime minister and former bodyguard who first rose to prominence as the mayor of Sofia, presenting himself as Bulgaria’s Batman — a tough, no-nonsense avenger who would rid Gotham of corruption and instability.

Instead, he struggled with a long series of corruption scandals involving himself and his close allies. One of the most embarrassing erupted in 2020 after a photograph appeared in the news media showing the prime minister asleep naked in his official residence next to a night stand with a handgun. Other photographs showed the drawer of the night stand stuffed with 500-euro notes and gold ingots.

Mr. Borissov said that he typically kept a handgun nearby but that the photographs had been doctored, dismissing them as a politically motivated smear. He said voters, not leaked images, would decide on his fate, boasting that “nobody can beat me in elections.”

He lost the next election, eventually ceding power to Mr. Petkov, a founder of “We Continue the Change,” a party that rallied voters by vowing to break corrupt ties between politicians and business and free the judiciary and other state institutions from the influence of politics and money.

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