At the beginning of the second season of the hit Netflix TV drama House of Cards the US Vice-President threw a news reporter under a train to cover up his relationship with her. The show promptly lost much of its credibility. Even with Donald Trump in the White House it somehow stretched the boundaries of credulity. Sometimes, to spice up a story, scriptwriters detach themselves from reality.
The reality in Bulgaria in recent months, however, can give a lot of material for a more realistic, yet intriguing political thriller. This is a story of an aggressive new Prosecutor General who embarks on a massive campaign to investigate not only current alleged crime but also thousands of crimes possibly committed in the past. Going on the warpath, he discards people who helped him get the position, tampers with witnesses, instigates spying scandals, publicly humiliates opponents and slowly encroaches on the recently undisputed power of the Prime Minister, who, quite possibly, will face in the next episodes the might of the unchecked state prosecution, which he personally helped unleash. With the powers vested in his hands, the Prosecutor General can easily topple the government and manipulate every choice politicians make
The storyline is only a slight exaggeration of the current political drama in Bulgaria in which the newly elected Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev is acting more as a politician rather than as an impartial magistrate. His actions and growing popularity show that there is a new political factor in Bulgaria other than Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Mr Geshev's behaviour is highly reminiscent of Mr Borissov's own political biography. The current PM also exploited the image of a man with an iron hand when he was Secretary-General of the Interior Ministry to launch his political project almost twenty years ago. As with Mr Borissov then, behind Mr Geshev now also lurks a power centre that helps him navigate Bulgaria's muddy political waters. Both men even dress and wear hats in similar ways.
It remains to be seen in the next several months if Mr Geshev indeed wants a role bigger than that of Prosecutor General and more interestingly, how the Prime Minister will strike back.