A group of Bulgarians who were among those who founded the Protest Network during the 2013/14 large-scale public protests demanding the resignation of the then-government announced on March 9 2016 the founding of a new political party, to be called June 14.
The name is a reference to the date in 2013 of the abortive appointment of controversial business person and Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security (SANS).
After Peevski’s election to the SANS post, at the time of the now-departed ruling axis of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the MRF, Bulgarians turned out in their thousands in the #DANSWithMe protests to demand that the government step down.
The head of the committee on the founding of the June 14 party, Alexander Stoyanov, said that the group was united by the cause of changing the status quo in Bulgaria and intended to take part in upcoming elections.
The party’s aims are to overcome corruption and behind-the-scenes deals in Bulgaria and to create a predictable and honest business environment. For the new party, priorities are judicial reform, security, culture and education, which Stoyanov said were key to initiating genuine change in Bulgaria.
“Today is a beautiful day for Bulgarian democracy, as was June 14 2013,” one of the party’s founders, Yassen Atanassov, said.
Stoyanov said that the entire state apparatus worked in favour of the status quo and “unfortunately, we see no will to change”.
The BSP-MRF government resigned in July 2014, opening the way for early parliamentary elections which were followed by the return of Boiko Borissov as prime minister in November 2014.
Since then, there have been continuing criticisms from civil society and from institutions such as the European Commission on serious shortcomings in judicial reform, a theme that has persisted for years.
The Protest Network itself, in a January 27 2016 declaration, called for the resignation of the current government, the National Assembly and the Prosecutor-General.
Bulgaria is not currently scheduled to hold parliamentary elections until 2018, but in autumn 2016 will hold presidential elections.
(June 2013 archive photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)