Socialist Leader: Nuclear Referendum Begets Change in Bulgaria!Energy | January 27, 2013, Sunday // 20:55| views
BSP and PES leader Sergey Stanishev has hailed the results of the referendum. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's ex PM and leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, Sergey Stanishev, has hailed the results of Sunday's referendum on nuclear energy as the "start of change" against the ruling center-right party GERB.
A little over 20% of the eligible voters in Bulgaria cast their vote in Sunday's referendum on the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria; of those, 61% voted "yes", and 39% voted "no". Even though the turnout is not sufficient to make the result of the referendum binding, it is still enough to take the question to the Bulgarian Parliament.
Stanishev saw this result as a win for the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the long-standing promoter of the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant, which in 2012 organized the referendum by collecting 770 000 signatures in favor of a referendum petition.
The chief of the Bulgarian Socialist Party further used the results from the vote to slam him political opponent, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, and the ruling GERB party.
"Mr. Borisov's behavior is inadequate to the will of the Bulgarian citizens. GERB can now assume only a defensive position, they cannot impose their agenda on the society any more," Stanishev stressed.
"The big loser is certainly Mr. Borisov," he said, promising that the Socialist Party will continue to work in favor of the Belene NPP project – which was terminated by the Borisov Cabinet in March 2012 as "economically unfeasible".
"I would like to thank all those who voted with "yes" or "no". This is what civil society and true democracy are all about. For the first time Bulgarians voted for something positive – so that their children can be engineers and skilled laborers, and not only employed in the service sector. This is very important after the disappointments of Bulgaria's transition in the past 20 years. The cause of nuclear energy in Bulgaria is not a party cause," Stanishev stressed.
Stanishev further thanked the voters of the ruling GERB party who backed the second NPP at the referendum because in his words they proved they "didn't vote according to orders".
"Many didn't vote because of a lack of trust in our political system, others – because party leaders told them not to, others because they thought it didn't matter, and still others – out of fear. Only Bulgaria lost when you didn't vote," he stated.
Stanishev believes that Sunday's referendum was a successful first step "giving a chance for the development of civil society in Bulgaria."
With respect to the low voter turnout, Stanishev reminded that back in 2007 Boyko Borisov was elected Mayor of Sofia with only 200 000 votes out of 1 million voters, while his successor Yordanka Fandakova was elected with a 23% voter turnout at the Sofia mayor elections in 2011.
"The civil society has a future. Change in Bulgaria started today," Stanishev concluded.
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