Bulgaria is entering the final week of electoral campaigning before the 11 July vote. But, before getting all political, let's flag two unusual stories from the weekend. First, a debate ensued about the fate of a wild bear near the village of Belitsa, Blagoevgrad province, which attacked a woman picking mushrooms in the forest. A petition in the animal's defense clashed with a decision by the Agricultural Ministry that allowed hunting her down in case she attacks again.
Secondly, caretaker Economy Minister Kiril Petkov announced that his institution is in the "final phase" of attracting an e-vehicles factory investment with a large company in the domain. He said that the final decision as to whether the company will open a branch in Bulgaria will come within two weeks. Back to politics:
TISP candidate triumphs in Blagoevgrad mayoral vote
Ilko Stoyanov, a colorful local politician affiliated to several different parties before ending up in Slavi Trifonov's There is such a people (TISP), won local elections in Blagoevgrad. Sunday's mayoral contest was marked by low turnout, a mere 28,5 percent of those eligible voting.
Mr Stoyanov defeated caretaker mayor Rumen Tomov from the Socialist BSP party, who ran the city for 1,5 years. Some observers see the early mayoral vote in the town as a harbinger of the 11 July election.
GERB, TISP and BSP neck and neck with a week left: Market Links
The polling agency that came closest to predicting the result of the 4 April vote now has the three main parties on level pegging. GERB still leads with about 22,5 percent of the declared vote, TISP is second with 21,7 percent and BSP is significantly higher than in April (or in other polls) reaching 20,6 percent, Market Links estimates. The agency sees a seven-party parliament, with the protest "Stand up! Thugs - out!" party of Maya Manolova and the nationalist Bulgarian Patriots Union passing the 4-percent threshold.
Expired vaccines could be binned in August: Health Official
Prof. Krassimir Gigov, of the National Social Council on Vaccinations, has said that the first batches of vaccines Bulgaria received at the beginning of the year are due to start expiring in August. He underlined that Sofia has already imported 4,6 million doses of Covid-19 shots, but has only used 1,8 million. Bulgaria trails other EU in terms of vaccinations, with only 821,000 people - or only 15 percent of the population - fully vaccinated by the end of June.