After the February 2020 parliamentary elections the political elite in the Islamic Republic homogenised itself, with the reformist current being practically left out of the parliament. The spread of the coronavirus strengthened once again the contradictions between the country’s elite and the people, for whom Iran is part of the world and not only the sponsor of „the axis of resistance” in the Middle East
This article will be published in the Bulgarian magazine “New Times”
The year 2020 started with fears from world war, which followed the murder of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. It continued with the hysteria around the spread of the coronavirus, which stirred the imposition of state of emergency in Bulgaria, Romania and other European countries. Now high-ranking politicians and experts claim in media that we are in a state of war with bacteriological weapon.
Such fears from war and extinction are not something new in the last thirty years, in which Bulgarians have passed through a lot of social cataclysms and crises. But our country was never under the threat of a military conflict with its neighbour or international factor. How would have we felt, if we lived in one of the key countries of the Middle East – Iran, and there was a constant threat haunting us – not only if we belong to the elite of the country, but also if we feel part of the common people? How do the Iranian elite and people see their role in the Middle East, where after 2001 there is an intense rearrangement of forces?
After legislative modfications from the beginning of 2018 Romanian parties benefit from generous state subsidies
This article was published on 2 July 2019 on the site of the Bulgarian newspaper „Word”.
In Bulgaria Romania has been given as a shining example in justice and economic development for years. We have become accustomed to the notion, that Romanian are ”excellent students”, even though that they, just like us, feel dramatic the reality, which places their country in the last and the penultimate place in a number of European rankings. But even the successes, which Romania made after its entering the EU, have their shadow.
The fight against corruption put in jail a number of the dinosaurs of transition. It opened space for new faces in politics. But in the last years various abuses in the work of prosecutors and the illegal intervention of the secret services in the work of justice were mediatised. As far as the economic development is concerned, it should not be reduced only to the greater GDP. The business in Romania is empowered, after reforms of Labour code and the Law on social dialogue in 2011 have hit hard the labour unions, as they created a similar structure with limite rights – “representatives of workers”. Due to a number of reasons the GDP growth in Romania (just like in Bulgaria) is not felt by a large number of the population. At the same time the salary rises are undermined by the fact the social security payments were transferred from the employer to the employee…
It is probably tempting to think that somewhere exists somebody, who succeeds and from whom we can learn. Knowing our neighbours can also serve as a means to know better who we are, where we stand in the world and in regard to them. In this sense it is notable that no one proposed that we take example from “the excellent country” Romania with regard to the party’s funding. Why? Maybe because in the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 Romanian parties vote a significant growth of the subsidy.
Will the campaign for the EU Parliament elections be framed in a way suitable for the rotten status-quo?
This article was published on 13 February 2019 on the Bulgarian section of the site ”The Barricade”.
The forthcoming elections for the European Parliament reveal the division lines in Romanian and Bulgarian politics. The traditional political confrontation between the left and the right is being displaced by other types of discourse – euro-optimists against eurosceptics, new and young against old, liberals and progressives against conservatives and finally, technocrats against populists.
The picture becomes interesting, however, once we focus on the details. The ideological confrontation in Romania seems clearly articulated. In Bulgaria various political ideas often coexist in the same party. This is why oftentimes political structures in this country are named after the restaurants where businessmen and politicians gather to discuss their projects. The political battle is over who will sit at the table of power and that is why the differences between liberals and conservatives are mostly in the label.