[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’The history of debates in Bulgaria’ color=’custom-color-heading’ style=’blockquote modern-quote’ custom_font=’#edae44′ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=” admin_preview_bg=” av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” margin=”][/av_heading]
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Political debates are one of the most important tools for effective democracy. Popular since ancient Greece, they help the viewer make more informed choices about a country’s political future. They also encourage candidates to focus on key issues for voters, as well as their problems and needs. Moreover, this type of discussion encourages political tolerance and constructive dialogue. Debating helps candidates to present their political campaigns and action plan in more detail during their term.
An interesting fact is that conducting this type of debate helps to reduce political tensions. Debates give political rivals a chance to show that, despite their differences, they can treat each other with respect, even if there is disagreement over their proposed policies and views. Of course, there are always exceptions, and debates can be transformed into a series of remarks exchanged about the personal qualities of the speakers, not their arguments and ideas. However, debates provide an opportunity for candidates to engage publicly in resolving conflicts between certain political forces and views. Conducting political debates shows and informs citizens about the policies and ambitions of a candidate, which may be unrealistic and/or harmful to society.
During the debate, each candidate can make a statement, state their policy objectives, and make promises that become part of the public archives. Once the successful candidates take office, civic groups and the media have the right to hold them accountable by quoting their statements and covering them in the press. This is why the debate is of great importance to voters. Only during a debate do candidates gather in the same place and present the reasons that prove why they are the most suitable for the position. At the same time, voters have the opportunity to learn more about their policies and compare them directly.
In many countries, such as the United States, voters base much of their decision on what they see in political debates. It is important for society how the candidates deal with the issues. The tradition of political debate in the United States protects against attempts to manipulate politicians who seek to win the favor of the masses by trying to campaign voters with empty or unrealistic promises and a personal goal of power. They are also important because they develop critical thinking of society. Political scientists believe that insofar as the debate is important from the point of view of persuasion, the debate can also be useful for the contender, about whom the public knows less or does not consider a favorite in the race. In this sense, it is no coincidence that the debates in 2016 in the United States played a major role in presenting the candidates and especially the then pioneer in the political race – Donald Trump.
There is a positive development of the debates in our country. For lovers of this art, weekly debates are held – the so-called “Panorama” on BNT. Traditionally, no political debates are organized during elections in Bulgaria. Candidates for the position hold rallies and meetings with the population in the cities. In most cases, there is no direct clash between opponents. Here comes the problem for the citizen who has to make his choice. When he cannot compare candidates, does not have critical thinking, and is not sufficiently informed, he cannot make good choices for himself and society. However, this has not been the case in recent years, as (probably under the influence of the American model) national televisions have been conducting political debates between major opponents. Organizing political debates during elections enables society to be objective, better informed, and effective in solving its problems. On the other hand, the debate presupposes opponents to present their campaign and ambitions in more detail. This is why political debates are increasingly seen as a benchmark for a healthy democracy. Citizens see the debate as an indicator of an open, transparent electoral process in which all candidates can compete equally.
Outside the realm of the political front, the art of debate is evolving even more. Thanks to the activities of youth organizations such as the Debate Association Bulgaria and the Best Foundation, pupils, and students all over the country increasingly have the opportunity to participate in competitions and trainings on debates or public discussions on socially significant issues. Probable proof of the improvement of the quality of the debates is the better performance of the National Debate Team, as well as the reaching of Bulgarian teams to the finals of competitions at universities such as Oxford. For this reason, we can conclude that political debates, as well as youth competitive debates, have a basis for development in Bulgaria should be supported and encouraged.
If the article arouses interest, you can visit the website of the Debate Association Bulgaria and learn about the art of leading a debate.
Link to the website: https://www.debate.bg/
Valeria Terzieva is 17 years old, from the Bertolt Brecht Language High School in Pazardzhik. At school, Valeria studied English intensively and is also the president of the Debate Club in Pazardzhik, where she has been actively debating for 2 years. For almost a year now, Valeria has been an intern in the Marketing Department at the Debate Association Bulgaria.