The meeting of the Party of European Socialists (PES) council in Sofia on June 22 put PES president Sergei Stanishev in an uncomfortable limelight as protests against the socialist-backed government in Bulgaria show no signs of abating, Bulgarian media commented on June 18.
Announced last week, the PES council at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in Sofia is meant to “kick-start the preparations for the 2014 EU elections,” according to the statement on the PES website. NDK, built as the Cold War winded down to host the congresses of the Bulgarian communist party, lies squarely on the route taken by the protesters’ march every evening so far.
The announcement went unnoticed at the time by Bulgarian media, but made headlines late on June 17, even as the anti-government protests continued for a fourth consecutive evening.
Stanishev, already under fire from inside the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), will hear more criticism from European socialists, some of whom have already called for his resignation as PES leader, commentary pieces in Bulgarian media said.
French socialist Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille and former French socialist leader, is one of those calling for Stanishev to step down, according to Bulgarian media, with Spanish socialists also in opposition to Stanishev.
Meanwhile, the leader of the socialist group in European Parliament, Hannes Swoboda, said he was surprised by the Bulgarian government’s nomination of Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security, tweeting that “there must be more competent ones.”
The rallies against Peevski’s appointment have continued even after the socialist-led ruling coalition agreed to cancel the appointment, as protesters turned their ire against the government and the two parties backing it in Parliament.
(Sergei Stanishev photo by bsp.bg)