New Head of Bulgarian Municipalities Elected with Backstage Deal - Report

Domestic | March 1, 2012, Thursday // 15:43|  views

Pazardzhik Mayor Todor Popov is the new head of the Bulgarian Municipalities' Association. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The Mayor of the southern Bulgarian city of Pazardzhik Todor Popov has been elected Chair of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB).

Popov, who was elected as an independent for a second term as Pazardzhik Mayor in the fall of 2011, won the vote among the NAMRB members with 305 votes in favor and 155 votes for his opponent, Targovishte Mayor Krasimir Mirev from the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

For the first time in 15 years, the Bulgarian local authorities' organization will not be headed by a Socialist, with Popov being supported by the ruling center-right party GERB and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).

Media reports point out that in exchange for backing GERB's favorite for chair of the NAMRB, the DPS party has gotten one of its mayors – the Mayor of the town of Antonovo Taner Ali – to chair the Supervisory Council of the Association.

Bulgaria's center right party GERB has thus received 12 out of the 23 seats in the Governing Board of the Municipalities' Association; the Socialists retained 8 seats, and the DPS party got 3. For the first time in 20 years, Bulgaria's old right represented by the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) has no seats in the governing body.

Thus, Bulgaria's rulers have taken over the chairmanship of the NAMRB which includes all 264 municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, and is the only Bulgarian organization recognized by the EU Committee of Regions.

Media reports have cited unnamed DPS activists claiming that the GERB party traded support of the ethnic Turkish movement in exchange for promising EU funding for DPS-ruled municipalities and no financial inspections for their mayors.

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Tags: Todor Popov, Krasimir Mirev, Pazardzhik, Taner Ali, GERB, BSP, UDF, DPS, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, EU funds, EU funding, municipalities, local authorities, NAMRB, National Association of Municipalities


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