ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT ROSEN PLEVNELIEV ON THE OCCASION OF THE FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND THE CONDUCTION OF A NATIONAL REFERENDUM
Local elections will be held in less than a month so that we can elect mayors and municipal councilors and we will also vote “for” or “against” online voting at the national referendum, which will be held together with the elections.
Although all elections have their specificity and are equally important for the democratic development of the state, at local elections we elect the politicians who are closest to us, who will manage our town or village and who will make important decisions on the development of our neighborhood, will take care of our street we walk along every day, of the parks and gardens our children play in. I am convinced that we are already experienced enough to make the best choice. Local self-government is extremely significant. The mayors are closest to the people, therefore we will have to elect the candidate who is best acquainted with the local problems. We should vote for the person who offers concrete and workable solutions, who has the knowledge and abilities to take full advantage of the European and national tools to organize the public services in our municipality.
In the past years each one of us has become increasingly aware that European solidarity is part of our lives. It can help the development of the smallest and the most remote town or village as far as it is managed by a competent, ambitious politician, who not only has a clear vision, but also is an expert and knows how to implement their ideas.
I call on the political parties to take full advantage of the time left before the elections are held by focusing on the concrete ideas and intentions of their candidate. We should provide our citizens the opportunity to make their informed choice not only about whom to support, but also about what they will demand their candidate to do. Because in politics trust is built on the kept promises, both on the national and local level. The problems our country is facing and the need to conduct fundamental reforms not only in a single sector offer easy temptations to seek temporary and narrow-party success. However, in a long-term perspective, every party will benefit only if it is honest with the people – when the mayor promises what they can fulfill and keeps their promise, when they solve the problems for which they have been elected. We should not rely on cheep populism or misinterpreted patriotism, because the latter will neither create jobs, nor will they improve our living environment. The Bulgarians expect concrete steps for modernization and progress which will improve the quality of life of the Bulgarian regions.
I call on all participants in the forthcoming election campaign to stick to positive messages. No election result can be justified if it is detrimental to public stability, to ethnic and religious tolerance. There are limits of public conduct that we do not have the right to cross because they have a disastrous impact on our society as a whole. The language of hatred can only destroy and every day we feel the damage which unprincipled confrontation causes and the ambition to discredit the opponent by all means. Frequently the analysts of the public processes lay the blame on the politicians for that. However, I would like to believe that precisely in the forthcoming campaign the politicians will trigger the reverse tendency. They should rely on positive messages, they should propose their arguments by showing respect to the opponent. This is the great responsibility each one of us has, which considerably exceeds the expected results from one local election.
A referendum is forthcoming. Direct democracy is the major component that was absent throughout all these 25 years of transition, in which we have been building our democratic state. Currently we have the opportunity to take advantage of everything positive it brings. Therefore it is important that we show the necessary responsibility to the preparation of the forthcoming referendum. The fact that a couple of initiative committees have been registered and that most of the political parties have voiced their willingness to be part of the process is a good start. However, real work is yet to be done. We should present to the Bulgarians all possible viewpoints so that they could be maximally informed when they vote. No matter how important local elections are, not less important is for us to make it possible for the voice of the Bulgarians to be heard. Moreover on an issue which will considerably contribute to the democratization of the election process. There are enough world experience and workable technical solutions which make it possible for online voting to be introduced. Will is also necessary to this effect. The time has come when we should provide a concrete explanation to the Bulgarian people, we should ease the purposefully instilled worries. No matter whether people will answer with a YES or NO the question asked, there will be no losers at the referendum. Whenever politicians take into consideration people’s opinions, statehood wins!
Be active! Not only on election day, but also during the campaign. Seek information, ask your questions and demand clear and concrete answers.
I wish success to all who will face their fellow citizens in less that a month and seek the public trust.