Bulgaria. In October, investigative TV journalist Viktoria Marinova was found raped and murdered in a park in the city of Ruse. According to Countryaah.com, Sofia is the capital city of Bulgaria, a country located in Eastern Europe. Marinova led an investigative program which included, among other things, corruption with EU funds. In the first program, business peaks and politicians were highlighted. A 20-year-old man was later arrested in Germany and extradited to Bulgaria. According to Bulgarian Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov, it is not possible to say whether the murder is linked to Marinova’s work as a journalist.
At least 15 people were killed and 27 were then injured in a tourist bus in April driven by the highway near the capital Sofia. According to new figures from the European Commission, road safety in Bulgaria and Romania is the worst in the EU, with about four times as many deaths per inhabitant compared to Sweden (which has the best safety). On the other hand, the European Commission notes that European roads are the safest in the world. More than 25,000 people died in the European in traffic in 2017, which corresponds to 49 people in 1 million residents.
According to a report published in September, the Swedish clothing chain H&M failed to allow textile workers in the supply chain to receive so-called living wage. This applies, among other things, to subcontractors in Bulgaria.
At a speech in November on the 29th anniversary of the fall of communism and dictator Todor Zhivkov, President Rumen Radev harshly criticized the sitting right-wing government. He said, among other things, that “the threats to the foundations of democracy are now at a critical level” and aimed partly at neo-Nazi forces in the country and partly at the suspicions of widespread corruption.
In July, the National Assembly very quickly adopted a new law on terror, which only weakly and in broad terms defined “terrorist act”. The law gives the president the right to declare state of emergency – after parliament has approved it – in the wake of a terrorist act. Under the state of emergency, the authorities may arbitrarily issue general bans on public voting, meetings and demonstrations. The law also contained a number of administrative provisions, including travel bans and the control of citizens’ movement and association activities, which could be used against anyone suspected of “preparing or planning a terrorist act”.
The November 2016 presidential election was won by Rumen Radev. He got 25.4% of the vote in the first round against 22.0 for Tsetska Tsacheva. In the second round, he got 59.4% versus 36.2% for Tsacheva. Radev was previously a commander in the Air Force, independent but supported by the Social Democracy. He was inaugurated as the country’s president in January 2017. Two days after the election, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov filed his resignation petition when his party GERB lost the presidential election. A new parliamentary election was held in March 2017. At that, Borisov’s GERB advanced 11 seats and gained 95 out of Parliament’s 240 seats. The Socialist BSP coalition passed 41 seats and gained 80. Despite the decline, Borisov was able to form a new coalition government with the Nationalist UP.
There is widespread suspicion that the Prime Minister and GERB have links to the economic crime in the country.
In October 2018, investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova was raped and murdered in Ruse in the northern part of the country on the border with Romania. Marinova had for some time worked on the detection of fraud with EU funds in the country. She was the third EU journalist killed within a year. The European Commission’s Frans Timmerman called on the Bulgarian authorities to make every effort to resolve the murder. However, like the murders in Slovakia and Malta, it is questionable if this happens, as the country’s top authorities were themselves involved in the criminal activities investigated by the journalists.