Bulgaria's Right-Wing Party to Expel Former Leader

Domestic | November 26, 2012, Monday // 10:10|  views

UDF former leader Martin Dimitrov (pictured) is a close ally of former Prime Minister and DSB leader Ivan Kostov, viewed by many as the power-hungry individual who in 2000s split Bulgaria's symbol of democracy. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The rift in Bulgaria's right-wing Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, deepened Monday morning after its head confirmed plans for coalition with the ruling GERB party and the expulsion of maverick members.

"Former leader Martin Dimitrov and two more high-profile members – Dimo Gyaurov and Vanyo Sharkov are expected to be expelled from the party at its Monday meeting," UDF leader, Emil Kabaivanov told the morning broadcast of TV7.

He also formally announced possible plans for a coalition with GERB in the next cabinet.

The mavericks due to be kicked out vehemently opposed the nomination of former President Petar Stoyanov for constitutional judge, seeing in it an attempt by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to attract the allegiance of the Union and create further divisions in the feeble Blue Coalition between the UDF and DSB.

The party will hold a new round of talks to nominate a constitutional judge on Monday at park hotel Moskva (Moscow) in Sofia.

The final decision will be made Tuesday at the meeting of the National Executive Council, NIS, this time, however, the candidate will not be a political figure, but someone with outstanding expert qualities, according to Kabaivanov.

The move was triggered by former right-wing President, Petar Stoyanov (1997 – 2001) declining the Constitution Court nomination. Friday evening, Stoynov sent a letter to Kabaivanov informing he has decided to not accept it, citing his international commitments which he could not terminate despite the effort he made. He thanked for the trust and the honor.

The rift in the Blue Coalition started in the spring of 2012, when UDF decided they would not run on the same ballot with partner Democrats for Strong Bulgaria DSB in the upcoming 2013 general election. The Coalition fell apart because many UDF supporters see Ivan Kostov, leader of DSB, as the archenemy and the power-hungry individual who in 2000s split Bulgaria's symbol of democracy – the right-wing movement.

The decision, however, prompted then UDF leader and MP, Martin Dimitrov, to resign. He was replaced by the largely-unknown Mayor of the town of Karlovo, Emil Kabaivanov.

A seat in the Constitutional Court remained empty on November 15, when Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev walked out just as controversial judge Veneta Markovska was about to swear in.

Markovska's name had become implicated in allegations of trade in influence, which she was unable to dispel, but nevertheless chose not to resign, after being elected to the Constitutional Court by Parliament.

After Plevneliev's move, on November 16 Bulgarian MPs decided to launch a new procedure to choose another constitutional judge from the parliamentary quota.

On November 19, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly informally invited the UDF to nominate a replacement for Markovska on grounds the formation was the oldest right-wing party in Bulgaria and is a member of the European People's Party, EPP, similarly to his ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

The move is interpreted as an attempt from the PM to attract the allegiance of the Union and create further divisions in the feeble Blue Coalition between the UDF and DSB.

On Tuesday, Kabaivanov announced the nomination of the former President.

After Petar Stoyanov's nomination, it emerged that he faces boycott by all opposition parties in the Parliament, including his own.

In addition to own right-wingers, the Socialist party, BSP, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, have also said they will boycott the new procedure since, they claimed, it has been rigged.

Stoyanov asked to have three days to say if he would accept the nomination, but most expected he will turn it down, as he did, deepening the constitutional crisis.

The true reason political experts suspect is not his many international commitments and regular activities abroad, but rather the stern opposition his candidature would face in the Parliament.

On Thursday, the Parliament voted to strike back Markovska's appointment and to launch a replacement procedure.

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