The third-largest party in the current Bulgarian Parliament, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms founded by Ahmed Dogan, on October 20 officially endorsed Plamen Oresharski in the country’s November 2016 presidential elections.
Undoubtedly best known for his time as occupant of the prime minister’s chair in what was nominally a Bulgarian Socialist Party-led coalition government in 2013 and 2014, but in which the MRF held real sway, it was Oresharski’s task to announce to the National Assembly, in June 2013, that controversial figure and MRF MP Delyan Peevski was being nominated to head the State Agency for National Security.
The widely-supported public protests unleashed by that move and the May 2014 thrashing of the BSP in European Parliament elections ultimately led to the government having to resign.
Before those months of 2013/14, Oresharski had had a career notable for its political shifts. His first public office was as deputy finance minister in the right-wing government headed by Union of Democratic Forces leader Ivan Kostov.
When Kostov’s UDF lost the 2001 election, Oresharski took a post as a lecturer in economics. In 2003, Oresharski was nominated to be the UDF candidate for mayor of Sofia, but the nomination was withdrawn after allegations (denied) against him of having questionable connections.
Oresharski, who had been a deputy chairman of the UDF, left the party, re-emerging in 2004 as a member of a working group on economic issues for then-president and former BSP leader Georgi Purvanov.
In 2005, Oresharski became finance minister in the Stanishev government. Four years later, when GERB leader Boiko Borissov defeated the BSP in regular elections to become Prime Minister, Oresharski sat as an ordinary MP.
The move by the MRF on October 20 came as no surprise. The party had not nominated an official candidate in the presidential elections.
In an Alpha Research poll a few days ago, Oresharski ranked 10th out of 21 candidates, with 0.5 per cent support. At the same time, the poll found that MRF supporters were “undecided” about voting, with a significant share saying that they might choose the “I don’t support anyone” option on the presidential election ballot paper.
MRF leader Mustafa Karadaya told a news conference after a meeting of the MRF central council that Oresharski “completely covers” the profile that the party had outlined for a future head of state.
According to this “profile” the future president should be non-partisan, a convinced democrat, of a Euro-Atlantic disposition, the will for democratic achievements, to work for the rule of law and to be sensitive to human rights.
Karadaya said that the decision to endorse Oresharski and his vice-presidential running mate, Danail Papazov – transport minister in the 2013/14 administration – had been taken with no votes against.