New Bulgarian President Plevneliev Officially Assumes OfficeDomestic | January 22, 2012, Sunday // 13:41| views
New Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (2L) and VP Margarita Popova (L), and outgoing President Georgi Parvanov (2R) and VP Angel Marin pose for a picture at the inauguration ceremony Sunday. BGNES
Rosen Plevneliev has assumed office as Bulgaria's new President after an official inauguration ceremony in Bulgarian capital Sofia Sunday.
Plevneliev, who was elected in elections end of October 2011, will be Bulgaria's President for 5 years, until January 22, 2017.
Plevneliev, who swore in as President in front of Bulgaria's Parliament Thursday, was nominated in fall presidential elections by ruling center-right GERB party.
The erstwhile popular Regional Development Minister, won with some 53% of the vote at the second round, against the Bulgarian Socialist Party's candidate, MEP Ivaylo Kalfin.
President Parvanov steps down after fulfilling his two constitutional 5-year terms in office. He was first elected in 2001 and then reelected in 2006.
He is expected to return to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which he chaired before becoming Bulgaria's President, perhaps to reclaim his leadership position.
In his farewell speech, Parvanov emphasized that Plevneliev should work for the unity of the nation, and continue a tradition of strong and independent presidential institution.
"Unity, however, does not mean uniformity of political thinking. One-party domination of Bulgarian political life cannot be good for the country," said Parvanov, referring to the dominant position of PM Boyko Borisov's GERB party in Bulgaria.
"Bulgaria's new President must work hard to entrench a new political culture pitted against hatred, aggression, and demonization of political opponents," added the outgoing President.
Parvanov also recalled what he saw as the successes of his two terms in office, among which he singled out being a strong voice in defense of the interests of the nation, and forging strong ties with friendly countries around the globe.
In his first speech as Bulgaria's President, Plevneliev reiterated his vow to develop a comprehensive and thorough program for Bulgaria's development, based on a broad public debate, but also referred to the long tradition of Bulgarian statehood.
"Bulgarians are a people with deep, strong roots. In the past, we have been united at times when everyone of us was looking to one direction, one goal," said the new President.
"I will be modern Bulgaria's pragmatic president," stated Plevneliev, saying he will work not only for economic growth, but also for justice, a balanced regional development, education and culture.
After giving their speeches, Rosen Plevneliev and outgoing Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov headed to the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, upon which they headed to the Presidency to hand down the office.
Upon leaving, President Parvanov, first lady Zorka Parvanova, and VP Angel Marin were cheered by citizens assembled in front of the building, who handed them flowers.
Plevneliev's first meetings as President of Bulgaria will be with EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn and EU Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva Sunday afternoon.
Rosen Plevneliev, 47, is the first Bulgarian President elected by popular vote who not only has a background as a successful businessman, but also an education in the hard and engineering sciences. President Zhelyu Zhelev is a philosopher, President Petar Stoyanov - a laywer, while President Georgi Parvanov - a historian.
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