Bulgaria Socialists Split over 'Kuneva for President' Calls

Domestic | April 13, 2011, Wednesday // 14:50|  views

Bulgaria Socialist leader and former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev (R) is believed to have enthusiastically embraced and promoted the idea that the party should back centrist Meglena Kuneva (L) for president. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Meglena Kuneva, Bulgaria's former European Commissioner, who is likely to run for president, has turned into the latest apple of discord for the members of the previously ruling Socialist Party.

One of the criteria, which party top brass recently approved for eligible presidential candidates, is that he/she should be popular in the European Union institutions, a loophole, which will make possible the nomination of Meglena Kuneva.

The proposal, believed to have been enthusiastically embraced and promoted by leader and former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev, however has been vehemently opposed by the more conservative members of the party, who say voters do not associate her with left-wing ideas.

"Kuneva is a very responsible person, but something is missing to make her our perfect candidate," famous actor and former Culture Minister Stefan Danailov told 24 Hours daily.

"The Bulgarian Socialist Party has worthy candidates among its ranks, there is no need to resort to Kuneva, who is strongly linked to the former king Simeon Saxe-Coburg and his party," commented Dimitar Gorov, member of the executive bureau of the Socialist Party.

Reports say the socialists fear that the nomination of Kuneva would drive away the core voters of the party, who will refuse to vote not only in the presidential, but in the local elections as well.

Some have even drawn parallels with the campaign of Bulgaria-born Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was strongly supported by her predecessor Lula de Silva.

"Are we capable of doing a campaign a la Dilma Rousseff style or our fear of ABV is bigger that the desire for victory?" asked member of parliament Kiril Dobrev, referring to the recently established new political formation of current Socialist President Georgi Parvanov.

The previously ruling Socialist party, which was brought down by the center-right GERB of Boyko Borisov, will vote for its pair of candidates for president and vice-president at a congress in July.

Bulgaria's former EU Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said at the end of March that she has not decided yet whether to run for President in the upcoming elections in the fall of 2011.

Kuneva told the Bulgarian National Radio that, should she decide to run for Presidency, her bid will be non-partisan.

Meanwhile, a Facebook group has vehemently risen against the prospect of Meglena Kuneva running for president of the country.

Bulgaria's constitution requires that candidates for president are eligible only if they have lived in the country over the last five years, a condition that Kuneva does not meet as she lived in Brussels, her opponents say.

According to the most recent poll conducted by Sofia-based Center for Analyses and Marketing 12.7% of the surveyed citizens said they fancied Kuneva as President, which makes her the third most popular option.

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Tags: vice, Brussels, Bulgaria, Kuneva, Meglena, president, Sergey Stanishev, Socialists, Socialist, party, Bulgarian


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