Leaders of Vocal Bulgarian Conservative Party Resign

Domestic | February 4, 2011, Friday // 15:04|  views

Semov (left) and Yanev (right) have announced their resignations from the RZS leadership. Photo by BGNES

The two major figures of the marginal Bulgarian conservative party RZS ("Order, Law, Justice") have resigned ahead of a new party congress.

RZS chair Yane Yanev and his deputy Atanas Semov announced on Friday their resignations. On Sunday, February 6, the party will hold a closed sitting of its governing board to select a new leadership council.

In the past year, the RZS party has been extremely vocal in criticizing the ruling center-right party GERB and the Borisov Cabinet pulling out to the public a number of documents allegedly exposing corruption of key ministers and MPs. Other than the "media noise" such moves have led little effect in the sense that they have not caused any ruling party representative to step down.

The RZS party is considered to be close to Aleksei Petrov, a former secret agent of the State National Security Agency, who was arrested in February 2010 in "Operation Octopus" on organized crime charges, most of which were subsequently dropped.

The RZS party, simultaneously with the Galeria weekly (believed to be the mouthpiece of Aleksei Petrov) was the source of several tapes of discrediting conversations between senior Bulgarian government officials that caused "Tapegate", a scandal that shook the Borisov Cabinet in January 2011 but without causing any resignations.

In the 2009 elections, RZS got 10 MPs in Parliament, just enough to form a parliamentary group. However, later, on several occasions, some of the MPs deserted the party making all ten of them technically "independents."

RZS leader Yanev has recently complained that he and his family and relatives have been systematically harassed because of their criticism against Borisov and Interior Minister Tsvetanov. It is still unclear whether either Yanev or his deputy Semov might be elected as the new chair of the party.

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Tags: RZS, Yane Yanev, conservatives, Atanas Semov, Aleksei Petrov, Galeria, Tapegate


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