NYT, IHT: Avoid being in the same restaurant with the Sofia mayor

The New York Times and the IHT have published an article about Bulgaria being [the most] corrupt country in the EU.

You can read the articles at the above given links; what strikes me most are the following two paragraphs:

Today, men nicknamed “thick necks” for their muscular appearance linger in neon-lit Sofia nightclubs like Sin City and Lipstick or keep watch over Mercedes jeeps and Audis outside. Sofia guidebooks offer tips: avoid restaurants that draw businessmen with four or more bodyguards.


Borisov, the Sofia mayor, is more cynical. Formidable, with a booming voice, trademark cigar and eight bodyguards, he said European pressure has had some effect.

In other words, the newspapers suggest that the leader of the opposition party GERB is one of the people we should avoid being in the same restaurant with?

However, the article ends in a positive note:

City elections, canceled once because of irregularities, took place on Saturday. From his Greek jail cell, Mr. Hadjivanov gamely ran for re-election, but the voters finally rebelled: He won less than 1 percent of Petrich’s vote.

And this is the advise for all Bulgarian citizens: create a civil society, and this civil society will create the strong state that is needed to keep the order. You can’t have it the other way around.

Note: the last paragraph is different in the NYT, when compared to the IHT. I wonder why. The IHT says, “While appearing in court, Hadjivanov plotted his political future, signing nomination papers for the local council. But even he could not pull off an electoral triumph from his jail cell; he finished at the bottom with less than one percent of Petrich’s votes.”

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