July 25, 2021

Slavi, the singer who turns Bulgarian politics upside down

The man whose rare apparitions all over Bulgaria watch receives The world, June 21st, at the headquarters of his television production company in the heart of Sofia. In the offices of 7/8, named after the rhythm of Balkan music that made him a national star, in addition to his career as a TV presenter, photos showing him in the craziest outfits line the stairs. But, at 54, Stanislav Trifonov, whom Bulgarians simply call “Slavi”, struggles to stand on a sofa in his large office.

At his side, a crutch. “I made a fracture from which I have difficulty recovering”, he assures, while his state of health is the subject of persistent rumors in the Bulgarian capital and that it has almost disappeared from public space for weeks. It’s hard to believe that this man in jogging, with a shaved head and livid skin, who refuses to be photographed, has become the main challenger in the early parliamentary elections called on July 11 in this country of 7 million inhabitants, known as being the poorest and most corrupt in the European Union.

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But, as soon as we talk about corruption, Slavi sits up and shoots a black eye in the eyes of his interlocutor. “We have brilliant laws, but they are not enforced. We must rebuild the judicial system “, castigates the one that the polls give in the lead or slightly behind the outgoing Conservative Prime Minister, Boïko Borissov. The latter, at the head of Bulgaria almost continuously since 2010, failed to form a coalition after the legislative elections of April 4. This led to the convening of new elections where the party founded and led by Slavi, Ima takouv narod (ITN; “There is such a people”), whose headquarters are located on the floor just below the offices of 7/8, should increase further, after obtaining 17.4% of the vote to everyone’s surprise in April.

“In people’s living room for twenty years”

If he wins, Stanislav Trifonov promises in particular to dismiss the controversial attorney general, accused of turning a blind eye to corruption. “His chair is too big for him, he criticizes. During the demonstrations last summer hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians and young people returning from abroad protested, their opinion must be considered. “ But its main program is based above all on three pillars: moving to a majority electoral system, introducing electronic voting and reducing the funding of political parties from 8 to 1 leva per vote obtained (4 to 0.50 euros). “The majority system is better because it allows you to vote for a person rather than for a party”, he defends.

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