Bulgarian Nationalist Ataka Party Writes Off Fifth MP

Domestic | July 13, 2011, Wednesday // 13:21|  views

Nationalist leader Volen Siderov has seen his parliamentary group dwindle from 21 to a total of 16 MPs. Photo by BGNES

Stoyan Ivanov is leaving the ranks of Bulgaria's nationalist party Ataka, according to an announcement of Parliamentary Chair Tsetska Tsacheva. 

Ivanov is the fifth MP to leave Ataka after Kamen Petkov, Valentin Nikolov, Kiril Gumnerov and Ognyan Peychev.

Kamen Petkov was the first member to leave Ataka's parliamentary group in December 2010, citing disagreements with the policy of the leadership, which he described as "spineless support for the government".

Nikolov, Peychev and Gumnerov left Ataka's parliamentary group in May 2011 after the accident in front of the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia on May 20, in which activists of the party assaulted praying Muslims during a rally protesting the mosque's use of loudspeakers. Upon leaving, they said it had been "the last straw".

The renegades also showed documents allegedly proving that MPs from the nationalist party have been forced to sign promissory notes turning them into guarantors of loans taken by offshore companies.

At present, Ataka's group consists of 16 MPs.

Bulgaria's nationalist party Ataka has abandoned the minority government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and center-right ruling party GERB leaving the Cabinet's survival to depend on a dozen of "independent" renegade MPs.

After sticking by Borisov for two years, and providing GERB with a de facto ruling majority in Parliament, on Friday Ataka leader Volen Siderov formally announced that his formation will no longer back the Borisov Cabinet.

The shift in the relations between Borisov and Siderov has already been visible as in June the Cabinet survived a no confidence vote on economic crisis policies initiated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with the votes of the 117 GERB MPs and 9 independents (former members of the conservative party RZS and the nationalist Ataka), while its traditional earlier allies, Ataka with 17 MPs and the Blue Coalition MPs, did not take part at all in the voting. (The no confidence motion was overturned with 124 MPs against, 70 in favor, and 2 abstaining.)

The newly acquired significance of the 10 renegade MPs as being crucial for the survival of the Borisov Cabinet has become tangible after on Thursday US Ambassador James Warlick in Sofia had a meeting with them. The USA has traditionally provided Borisov with strong support.

On Friday, Ataka's leader Siderov read a declaration in Parliament making it clear that Ataka is now in opposition, and his party provided parliamentary support for Borisov "with the idea of being a good-wishing partner whose advice GERB had to comply with" but this failed to materialize.

Siderov accused the government of working for big business and allowing foreign-owned monopolies "to continue draining" the Bulgarian economy, a situation bound to lead to GERB's collapse, he said.

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Tags: Volen Siderov, Ataka, Kiril Gumnerov, Ognyan Peychev, Valentin Nikolov, Kamen Petkov, GERB, Boyko Borisov, DPS, RZS, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, US Ambassador to Bulgaria, James Warlick, Banya Bashi, banya bashi mosque


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