Maxim Behar to Euronews: What will be the leading topics in the election campaign?September, 2022
Host: Starting today, the parties and coalitions are entering a pre-election competition for the votes for the October 2nd parliamentary election. In the last year and a half, this will be the fourth election. According to most forecasts, they are unlikely to radically change the political picture in Bulgaria. We will now talk about the messages and the way an election campaign will be conducted with our guests the PR experts Maxim Behar and Lyubomir Alamanov. A traditional question at the beginning of a campaign: How do parties get into it, Mr. Behar?
Maxim: The parties and the people in them entered the election campaign, of course, three or four months ago, after the fall of Petkov's government. I believe that today or last week or probably in a week or two there will be no difference in their behavior apart from these ceremonial, unnecessary so-called campaign openings. The truth is that we can see a total burnout from the screen, from every single message, from every single word from every single politician. Not to mention that the messages are already absolutely worn out, the politicians themselves speak so lazily, with such a huge amount of general talk. I don't believe that this campaign will be that interesting, maybe here and there some compromising material will come out, a picture of stairs, railing, drawer or something like that. However, the campaign won't be all that different from what we've seen over the past few months.
Host: I told you that nothing changes because most people in Bulgaria, and not only here, this isn’t our national phenomenon, vote emotionally, not rationally. Do you agree, Mr. Behar?
Maxim: I'm not very sure that the categories of emotion and rationalism can be counted as motivation for voting at all, because in this studio and in other studios we very easily criticize that there are no messages, that they are too general, that they are the same people, that repeat some meaningless things. Probably the children from kindergarten who come home in the evening and watch the news know this too. The question is what we will do from here on. How do we make voters vote rationally? For them to think about who to vote for based on understanding their messages and their abilities. Bulgaria, September 2022, has nothing in common with Bulgaria from 2020 at all. The whole world has changed, the value system has changed, generations who think in a completely different way and want to understand what the politicians are telling them and whether these politicians will really be able to get Bulgaria out of the hole, are coming. And not only Bulgaria, but many other countries in Europe are also in a hole too. And that's why I think the politicians who are listening to this show should tighten up and start sending intelligent, reasonable messages. To give a guarantee that what they say will happen and that they can do it. Not to talk about words like commissions, mafia, back staging, these things have to stop. Politicians need to talk reasonable and really take responsibility for their promises.
Host: Mr. Behar, you say the same pre-election theses, we have heard them many times, they have been repeated. However, they have been combining for the last year and a half with some red dividing lines. You said a moment ago "What happens next?". This is important for the voter. Will there be political will and consensus to form a normal government? That's the point, maybe.
Maxim: What certainly 90% of Bulgarians want to see is how the different political formations look for their common points, not the differences, because those about red lines - that's complete nonsense. What red lines when there is a crisis in the whole world, when there is no gas or if there is, it is available at triple the price. When we may also have a food crisis because we don’t know, what this war will bring us, or the relationship with China, there are many factors. Politicians should look for their common points and from now on, in this one-month election campaign, demonstrate a desire to form a coalition in the name of Bulgaria. Will it happen? It's more likely not. However, I return to rationalism and emotions. Probably, in the 55+ category, they will vote emotionally, because some say to themselves "I was in the SDS, I was on the right". Here left and right do not exist at all. Young people, however, should vote rationally. I really wish there were political formations and leaders who would really give solutions. Again, we must forget once and for all these past things. I look at the social media campaign - it's the same people with the same little ads, saying something "clever" along the lines of "After spring comes summer, and after summer comes fall." First, economics should be the main point, economics should be on the table and nothing else. Neither history nor culture. Now, at the moment, if there is a working economy in Bulgaria, everything else will work.
Host: Mr. Behar, a question for you because you are the moderator of the first political leadership debate. Why hasn't there been such a debate since because that's what's important—to see leaders confront their ideas.
Maxim: I cannot judge who the leaders are now. The debate you are talking about was in 1994, October or November, they were a series of debates. Indeed, there were leaders who we all believed were people who could manage, could handle concepts and visions. And these people really could. There really were a left and a right side. There was a strong social policy and a strong conservative policy. Liberals hardly appeared on the political spectrum. I would very much like to see now, in September, a leadership debate. The political "bosses", because I cannot define them as leaders, should sit together at the same table and discuss, if necessary, 3 times or 10 times, so that the Bulgarian voter can make their choice. They all flood us with negativity, they all scare us. I want the voters to know, because Euronews is my favorite TV and I know that many people watch it, that sooner or later Bulgaria will get better. Bulgaria is a great country with exceptional people, but the sooner the better. Those who really communicate with voters and have an economic business concept should be voted for. Then, in 1994, there were such concepts and there was a battle of them.