In Bulgaria, a Businessman Who Talks (and Acts) Like Trump

Mr. Mareshki, whose only previous political experience had been a stint on the City Council in Varna and an unsuccessful run for mayor of that city, his hometown on the Black Sea coast, stunned Bulgarians late last year by garnering 11 percent in the first round of voting for president, far above what the polling had predicted. It was a sizable achievement for a campaign that had no advertising budget and had staged few events.

Now he is hoping to capitalize on that strong showing by forming a new political party — which he calls Will, a word that in Bulgarian connotes strength of character — in parliamentary elections on March 26. His similarities to Mr. Trump, he believes, will help him.

“I am a successful businessman who started a business and built it over almost 30 years into something very successful,” Mr. Mareshki said. “And I gained a lot of experiences in those years, so I am not afraid to speak directly to the people and call things by their real names.”

Some relative newcomers to politics, like Mr. Mareshki, are more eager than others to accept the Trump comparisons. Others, who have been around a while, like to point out that it is Mr. Trump who is copying them with his nationalist themes and aggressive approach on immigration.

“Mareshki’s parallel with Trump is quite strong,” said Daniel Smilov, an analyst at the Center for Liberal Strategies, a research group in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital….

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