Political party “Leader” did not register for the European elections, but sold its numerous advocates (supporters) to the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), according to documents leaked from the e-mail of the regional coordinator of “Leader” in the Black Sea city of Varna, Georgi Kostov. Bivol’s check showed that the documents are authentic. The data are also confirmed by the list of advocates, registered by the Regional Electoral Commission in Varna.
The political brokerage scheme has been masterminded by Georgi Kostov and is titled “Work Strategy for European Elections 2014 – Varna Region.” The document, entitled shema2.doc, was sent to Stiliyan Avramov – member of the National Political Council of Leader – on March 26. It came with a practical guide, which reads:
“Leader has about 800 advocates. It is assumed that at least half of them will decline working for BSP. The offer to them is to participate and make two levs and get one more lev for every person they bring. They can choose between bringing 3, 6 or 9 people as representatives. Hence, this means that an advocate can get 2 + 1 levs for him and three of his people, 2 + 2 levs for him and six of his people and 2 + 4 levs for him and nine of his people. They get paid after the elections.”
As the amounts do not look particularly lucrative, Kostov explains the idea of multilevel marketing: “the initial ante for a person should be very low (this will be justified by the fact that they will not sit all day in the polls, but will just need to campaign and recruit members), and the more people he/she enlists, the more is promised to them.”
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To do so, there is also a need to recruit campaigners, who “recruit advocates and for every verified advocate with their men they receive 1 lev. They are paid before the elections for every 10 verified advocates.” The campaigners must “propagate the amount of money which an advocate can earn.”
The maximum success of the scheme should yield “about 1 600 advocates; 50% leader, 50% brokers, each with 9 people which is 16 000 votes.” The minimum is to mobilize only Leader’s advocates – 400 total with 3 people or 1 600 votes. The intermediate result is estimated at “800 advocates with 5 representatives 4800 votes.” (The original spelling in Bulgarian has a number of errors – editor’s note.)
“If BSP requests it, we shall send our most reliable advocates, “Kostov assuages the Chief of the Party Headquarters.
“Leader” has 276 advocates registered by the Regional Electoral Commission in Varna for Coalition for Bulgaria (led by BSP)
On May 12, 2014, Kostov received on his email a file containing a detailed list of advocates of “Leader”, of the party New Bulgarian Democracy and others, a total of 1 584 people, for which voting polls, full names, social security numbers, cell phone numbers and addresses from their ID cards are marked. Of these, 276 are noted as members of “Leader”.
All members of “Leader” are now registered as BSP advocates, a fact indicating that Kostov’s offer has been accepted. From the advocates, who are not members of “Leader”, about 30 people have registered themselves for BSP.
Since the file that has been sent to Kostov contains personal data, Bivol is not publishing it, but will keep it available for the Prosecutor’s Office and the Central Electoral Commission should they decide to act to unravel the vote buying scheme. An independent verification may be made by crosschecking the names in the lists of supporters of Leader in the 2009 general elections and of those registered for the current European elections.
Bivol failed to reach Georgi Kostov for comment via the cell phone numbers and email address listed on the site of Leader – Varna. According to the published business card, the regional Head of “Leader” has a degree in “Informatics”, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He has specialized in “Management of International Business Projects and European Projects.” He heads international projects and works on earning a PhD in “Political Economy.” He manages the company “Smart Home Sys” Ltd., specializing in the construction of domestic and industrial automation systems.
Lists of advocates of BSP for European elections 2014
Full text of the scheme:
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