Bulgarian Ruling Party Makes U-Turn on Merit of Communist Secret Agents

Domestic | October 18, 2011, Tuesday // 19:19|  views

File photo, Sofia Photo Agency.

Bulgarian ruling center-right GERB party has issued a statement saying that some agents who worked for communist-era State Security have worked for Bulgaria's interests.

The unexpected pronouncement comes after Bulgaria's Files Commission, the entity in charge of the secret services archives, announced the names of candidates for October 23 municipal elections.

According to Bulgarian law, the commission has as its mandate to reveal the names of persons who served in State Security and are now occupying key political or other public positions, or are running for such.

Tuesday the Files Commission announced that 275 of the 8144 persons checked running for local elections have been secret agents, 35 of them coming from GERB.

"We are convinced that one needs to differentiate between those who informed communist authorities about their fellow-citizens and those who were just working in their country's interests," reads the GERB statement.

The ruling Bulgarian party also assures it had made a prior internal check about its candidates' and leaders' past belonging to State Security.

This is a significant change of position on the part of GERB, who previously maintained that all persons who have worked for the communist secret services have no moral right to hold public office.

This was vividly illustrated in a scandal that broke out end of 2010, when PM Boyko Borisov and Foreign Affairs Minister Nikolay Mladenov vowed to expel from the Bulgarian diplomatic service all persons who were filed as State Security agents.

The events then even led to the dismissal of minister in charge of Bulgarians abroad Bozhidar Dimitrov from the cabinet for having also been a communist-era secret service agent.

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Tags: GERB, agents, Files Commission, State Security, communist, secret services, diplomatic service, Nikolay Mladenov, Boyko Borisov, elections, Bozhidar Dimitrov


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