Bulgaria's Opposition Socialists Rolls Sleeves Up for No Confidence Vote, 2011 Elections

Domestic | January 15, 2011, Saturday // 16:20|  views

BSP leader Stanishev (left) at Saturday's plenum of the National Council of the party. Photo by BGNES

The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party has appointed a campaign staff for the 2011 presidential and local elections, while also declaring its readiness for a new no confidence vote of the Borisov Cabinet.

"It is our conviction that this government harms the country and undermines the state, we should not be afraid of what is going to happen if the government falls. Our actions must be consistent and responsible," BSP leader and former PM Sergey Stanishev told a plenum of the National Council of the Socialists in Sofia Saturday.

The National Council decided to give the party's Executive Bureau, a smaller, operational body, the mandate to carry out actions on behave of the Socialist Party with respect to the "Tapegate" - the tapes of telephone conversations between top-ranking people from the government – including PM Borisov, Finance Minister Djankov, and Customs Agency head Tanov – which suggest political cover-ups for certain companies.

Stanishev is convinced that the tapes are very indicative of the true face of the Borisov Cabinet. He thinks the ruling center-right party GERB "has fallen into its own trap" as a result of the wide usage of tapping and spying devices.

He declared the BSP will ask the Prosecutor's Office for an "objective investigation" of the scandal with the taped conversation, and has also requested talks with the State National Security Agency DANS.

"In the past months, we have seen abuse by state institutions with the use of tapping devices. This is an approach towards a police state that affects major rights of the citizens. That is why the government shouldn't be surprised that there is leakage of these materials," Sanishev said pointing out experts' statements that the Cabinet the security apparatus used 20 000 tapping devices in 2010.

"The understanding of the GERB party for power is that there is one power center that is not controlled by anybody. Who then controls the Prime Minister?" the Socialist leader asked.

"GERB's response to the deepening social and economic problems is more and more police, and greater control over everybody. The only explanation about why the state revenues declined is the cover-ups that they provide for the gray economy and tax evasion. There is an accelerated impoverishment of the Bulgarians because of the incompetence of the ruling party and the merging of political and economic interests, and their favoritism," Stanishev told the BSP plenum.

He further slammed the Cabinet for the "crackdown" on the science and educational institutions, and ruining the healthcare sector, using more police power and "PR performances" to keep their control.

"There is no doubt that 2011 will be very difficult in terms of politics and that there will be a very hard political struggle for each town and village in the local elections and for the presidential elections. Our opponents from GERB will do their best to take over the Presidency and the local authorities. The way that Bulgaria will be governed in the coming years is at stake," Stanishev said with respect to the double elections scheduled for October 2011.

BSP MPs such as Rumen Ovcharov and Georgi Bozhinov have urged the consolidation of the Socialist Party behind two-three very specific issues. Bozhinov demanded that the Borisov government should resign based on moral grounds as a result of the leaked tapes, and that, if the GERB party enjoys that much public support, it must be able to come up with a brand-new Cabinet with new faces, and one not chaired by Borisov.

Rumen Petkov, Bulgaria’s discredited ex Interior Minister (in 2005-2008), urged the Socialists to come up with working groups on the spot for the local elections.

“We must insist on a hearing of Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov at a closed session of the Parliament,” Petkov suggested with respect to the tapegate.

At its plenum on Saturday, the BSP Council also appointed a national campaign headquarters for the 2011 elections, to be chaired by the party leader Sergey Stanishev. It features pretty much the entire Socialist leadership including Anton Kutev, Georgi Gergov, Denitsa Zlateva, Dimitar Dabov, Korneliya Ninova, Maya Manolova, Mladen Chervenyakov, Mihail Mikov, Rumen Ovcharov, Rumen Petkov, Yavor Gechev.

“We have a balance in terms of people with much party and campaign experience, and of young and fresh people,” Stanishev stated.

After ruling Bulgaria as part of the so called three-way coalition in 2005-2009, the BSP lost the 2009 parliamentary elections by 18% of the votes vs. 40% for the new center-right party GERB of Borisov. Ever since then public opinion polls have indicated a negligible public support for the Socialists, leading their former leader Georgi Parvanov, who is completing his second term as President in January 2012, to come up with a new political project, the ABV movement, which is widely expected to turn into a new leftist political party.

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Tags: BSP, Bulgarian Socialist Party, local elections, Presidential elections, 2011 elections, Sergey Stanishev, plenum, Rumen Petkov, no confidence vote, Tapegate, taped, tapped, tapping


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