Another East European TV Star Vows to Take on the Establishment

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(Bloomberg) -- Hot on the heels of Ukraine’s comic-turned-president, another showman wants to take on the political establishment -- this time in nearby Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest member-state.

Stanislav Trifonov, whose satirical TV shows are the eastern European country’s most popular, held his political party’s founding congress on Saturday. He vows to fight against the “thick line dividing the party aristocracy and the Bulgarian people.”

Called “There’s No Such State,” his movement has enough support to enter parliament as the fourth-largest party, according to a survey by the Alpha Research pollster last month. But he’ll have to wait -- the next elections are planned in early 2021.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is serving his third term since 2009 and is pushing for the Balkan nation that joined the EU 12 years ago to adopt the euro. But not enough has been done to fight corruption and implement reforms, prompting workers to leave and making the population one of the world’s fastest shrinking.

“The people that rule and that are elected by a significant part of the Bulgarian voters are grasping for power,” Trifonov told his supporters, according to an emailed statement. “I’m not grasping for power, I’m grasping for justice.”

Trifonov’s policies include reintroducing compulsory voting in the country of 7 million people and reducing the number of lawmakers. He’s also been calling for a more intensive overhaul of the judiciary and the health-care system.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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