Nadezhda Neynski, former UDF leader and ex-foreign minister, quits UDF after rebels axed

Nadezhda Neynski, a former leader of the right-wing Union of Democratic Forces and who was foreign minister during the 1997 to 2001 UDF government, resigned from the party on November 26 after three senior MPs were expelled for defying party moves – now aborted – to nominate ex-president Petar Stoyanov as a Constitutional Court judge.

As Nadezhda Mihailova, the UDF veteran led the party from 2002 to 2005, one of a succession of leaders who sought to revive its fortunes after its 2001 electoral defeat. She currently is an MEP for the Blue Coalition, the troubled alliance between the UDF and former prime minister Ivan Kostov’s Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria.

Neynski announced that she was leaving the UDF a few hours after the party’s National Council confirmed that it was expelling three MPs, including another former leader, Martin Dimitrov, for speaking out against a plan for the UDF to nominate Stoyanov to the Constitutional Court.

The Stoyanov nomination, which he declined, was a twist in a saga that began with the collapsed nomination of Veneta Markovska to the Constitutional Court by Parliament. Some UDF MPs expressed misgivings publicly about the party being exploited to save ruling party GERB from crisis.

In an open letter to current UDF leader Emil Kabaivanov, Neynski said that the November 26 decision by the National Council had been “a test of who believes what in the UDF”.

“It turned out that we believe in different things. In recent weeks and months I heard some criticism about me. I do not think it necessary to respond to them. But something happened that convinced me that you have gone too far, you have crossed all boundaries and there is no way back. I heard echoes from the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB, as it is known by its Bulgarian abbreviation) that the UDF government (1997-2001) was the biggest failure in the Bulgarian transition period. I can no longer be silent, because silence means complicity in falsehood and revisionism”.

Nadezhda Mihailova, Bulgaria's foreign minister, in 1997 with then-defence minister Georgi Ananiev and visiting US defence secretary William Cohen. Photo: US department of defence

“Here comes the important question: where in the time of the transition period were the leaders of GERB? I will tell you the answer- they were on the other side of the fence. Today you want to get into power, no matter how. You are ready to pay any price,” Neynski told Kabaivanov.

Nato's then-secretary-general, Lord Robertson, with Bulgaria's then-foreign minister Nadezhda Mihailova in September 2001. Photo:

“I did not leave UDF. With today’s ruling, the UDF left me,” Neynski said, adding that the letter should be regarded as a request to terminate her membership of the UDF, while she intended remaining an MEP for the Blue Coalition.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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