>Bulgarian centre-right develops, weekly

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The Sofia Weekly’s online news update (15 September) reports further developments on the fractious Bulgarian centre-right. The political equation both in Sofia and nationally is also complicated by the existence of the declining liberal-centrist/reformist bloc headed up by heir to the (notional) Bulgarian throne Simeon Saxecoburgottski currently in office and in coalition as a junior partner of the Bulgarian Socialists. As they have just introduced a 10% flat tax, as ever, the centre-right seems confined to anti-communism and faction-fighting over electoral alliances.

“Bulgaria’s UDF Faces Split in Sofia over Mayoral Race

The decision of Bulgarian rightist party Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) to endorse Martin Zaimov as its candidate in the mayoral race in capital Sofia is threatening to split the party’s supporters in the city.

After unsuccessful talks with incumbent Boyko Borissov, the party teamed up with the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) to back up Zaimov, who oversaw Bulgaria’s currency board regime for six years in 1997-2003.

But one faction came out against Zaimov on Monday, pledging its support to Borissov’s GERB party by signing a coalition agreement.

The faction, who calls itself the UDF National Discussion Club, claimed Zaimov’s nomination was a ploy on behalf of DSB leader Ivan Kostov to “bury UDF”.

UDF party leader Plamen Yurukov hit back at the rebels, downplaying the threat of a split within the party’s ranks.

“I don’t think there is a split in UDF. The [club’s] ringleaders are dependent on Borissov through their positions in the boards of municipal companies, but they won’t confuse our supporters,” Yurukov said.

The faction now face exclusion from the party, although it was up to the local party organisation to decide on the issue, he added.

Bulgaria’s Rightists Want Collaborators Out of Parliament

The right-wing hard-liners from Democrats for Strong Bulgaria called for kicking out of parliament the nineteen MPs who were exposed to have been agents and collaborators to the secret services.

The demand was voiced from the parliamentary rostrum by Vesselin Metodiev, deputy chair of the parliamentary group of Democrats for Strong Bulgaria.

At the beginning of September a special panel released the names of 138 agents and collaborators to the secret services, who have been members of Bulgaria’s parliaments since the collapse of the communist regime in 1989.

On the list were the names of president Georgi Parvanov and 19 current members of parliament, including ethnic Turkish party leader Ahmed Dogan, deputy parliamentary speakers Yunal Lyutfi and Petar Beron, chair of the parliamentary group of the Bulgarian People’s Union Krassimir Karakachanov.

Bulgaria‘s Former President Petar Stoyanov Quits Parliament

By Milena Hristova

Former Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov gave up his seat in parliament months after stepping down as leader of the biggest right-wing party the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF).

A day earlier Petar Stoyanov tabled his resignation as MP, which was approved Friday morning with 119 votes. Four MPs voted against and another four abstained.

“Despite this fact I have the deepest respect for Bulgaria’s parliament and its MPs and wish them success in their future work,” Petar Stoyanov said in a statement, circulated to the media.

Petar Stoyanov is one of the emblematic figures of the Union of Democratic Forces and Bulgaria’s transition to democracy.

Stoyanov’s political career took a flying start in 1990 when he became UDF spokesman in the second-biggest town of Plovdiv only to be appointed two years later Deputy Minister of Justice in the first non-communist government of Bulgaria since 1944. He resigned in 1993 after the dismissal of the UDF government.

On 3 November 1996 Stoyanov was elected President of the Republic of Bulgaria by winning 2,502,517 votes equal to 59.73 % of the votes cast. He swore in as President of the Republic on 19 January 1997 and stepped down in 2002 after a defeat by current Socialist President Georgi Parvanov.

In February 2004 Stoyanov was nominated for right-wing leader of UDF, but gave way to Nadezhda Mihaylova. He took over UDF leadership in October 2005 after Mihaylova stepped down, citing lack of support as the main reason for her withdrawal.

Stoyanov resigned as party leader after UDF, once the dominant centre-right party in the country, failed to win a single seat in the European Parliament elections in May.

UDF has been in a steady decline since 2001, when the party lost the general elections following four years of needed, but painful reforms.

It never recovered from the shock, splitting into three smaller parties since then, progressively losing ground in public opinion polls, which show it could fail to make it into the next parliament altogether.”

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