Sofia's Ex Mayor Sofiyanski Moves to Run AgainDomestic | June 6, 2011, Monday // 13:55| views
Stefan Sofiyanski will make a fourth run for Sofia Mayor. Photo by BGNES
Stefan Sofiyanski, the highly popular-turned-controversial former Mayor of Sofia, has unveiled his bid to be elected again mayor of the Bulgarian capital in the elections in the fall of 2011.
Sofiyanski was Sofia Mayor in 1995-2005, after being elected three times – in 1995, 1999, and 2003; in 2005, he backed out of the job to become a Member of Parliament. In 2006, he became a Bulgarian observer in the European Parliament, and then, briefly, a MEP in January-May 2007.
In 1997, Sofiyanski temporarily stepped down as Sofia Mayor to head a caretaker Cabinet amidst the financial and political crisis that grabbed the country. Until 2003, when he founded his own party, the Union of Free Democrats (UFD), Sofiyanski was an emblematic figure in the Union of Democratic Forces, the major anti-communist and pro-Western Bulgarian party of the 1990s.
Sofiyanski resignation from the mayor seat of Sofia in 2005 paved the way for Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria's current Prime Minister, to rise to prominence by winning the by-elections in 2005. Sofiyanski's political image has been marred by corruption allegations. In 2004-2008, he faced three corruption trials but was acquitted in all three of them because he was found not to be responsible, and for lack of evidence.
Sofiyanski's bid for the 2011 local elections was formally announced Monday by a brand-new rightist formation uniting a number of marginal diverse political subjects.
The new "Community of Democratic Forces" (CDF) includes the Union of Free Democrats, the Democratic Party, the Gergyovden (St. George's Day) Movement led by Sofia city councilor and popular author Lyuben Dilov Jr., the "Radicals" Union, the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union, the Agricultural Movement Association, the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union "Nikola Petkov", plus several even more marginal formations.
Sofiyanski's candidature for Sofia Mayor was announced by Lyuben Dilov Jr, who presented himself as the spokesperson of the Community of Democratic Forces.
The CDF has submitted a letter to the rightist Blue Coalition, the descendant of the original Union of Democratic Forces of the 1990s, currently consisting of the Union of Democratic Forces and the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, with a request to include Sofiyanski's bid in the primaries that the Blue Coalition will hold in June to select a common rightist candidate. The rightist primary for Sofia Mayor will feature UDF's Vladimir Kisyov vs. DSB's Proshko Proshkov.
Dilov criticized the bidders of the Blue Coalition as inadequate saying Sofiyanski is the one providing a real alternative for Mayor of Sofia.
The Community of Democratic Forces is also willing to consider nominating a joint candidate for president together with the UDF and DSB.
The CDF said it will have its own runner in Plovdiv, and will support the "traditionally strong" "blue" incumbents in Pleven, Kyustendil, and Montana.