Fmr Barekov MPs Joining New Bulgarian Democratic Center PartyDomestic | March 23, 2015, Monday // 13:39| views
Many MPs formerly loyal to Barekov were present at Sunday's congress of Lider, when it changed its name to Bulgarian Democratic Center. Photo by BGNES
Lider, a Bulgarian party once entering a coalition led by MEP Nikolay Barekov, has now renamed itself Bulgarian Democratic Center.
Its new name coincides with that of the parliamentary group formed by MPs from Barekov's coalition last autumn, after the alliance came sixth in Bulgaria's Parliament.
The change was announced at a special congress which included guests from across the political spectrum, notably including lawmakers from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) and left-wing Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV).
This step is seen as a further signal that Lider/BDC has completely distanced itself from Barekov's Bulgaria without Censorship, which one spearheaded the coalition, paving its way into Parliament.
BDC gradually slipped away from Barekov's influence, with lawmakers of his Bulgaria without Censorship party (once 7 out of BDC's 14 lawmakers) quitting in a row to remain loyal only to the parliamentary group. As of March 23, Monday, Barekov can count on the support of only one lawmaker.
Their move prompted a war of words between Barekov and his former allies, with the former accusing the businessman Hristo Kovachki (said to be behind Lider) orchestrating "coup-like" action against him and BDC lawmakers denying Barekov the right to represent them anymore. Initially, the journalist-turned-politician who was a popular TV anchor prior to entering the political arena disagreed with the BDC group over voting behavior in Parliament and at a certain point even withdrew his support from it.
Bulgarian Democratic Center will now be headed by two co-Chairs, Stefan Kenov (once from BwC) and Krasimira Kovachka, a sister of Hristo Kovachki.
A number of formerly faithful allies to Barekov declared Sunday their loyalty to the newly-refurbished party, including Rosen Petrov, a former scriptwriter and TV host who last year quit his show on national bTV station with an on-air declaration, made in the presence of Barekov, that he will be part of Bulgaria without Censorship and will become Interior Minister if the party sweeps to power.