A second member of Parliament, formerly of Boiko Borissov’s opposition centre-right GERB party, is to join the “Bulgaria Without Censorship” (BWC) party.
Svetlin Tanchev, who left the GERB parliamentary group in December 2013, is moving to BWC a few days after it was confirmed that Roumen Yonchev, an Agrarian People’s Union member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party-led Coalition for Bulgaria parliamentary group, was to sit as an independent MP on behalf of BWC.
In the 240-member 42nd National Assembly, former ruling party GERB is the largest but also is the opposition because after the May 2013 elections it had no allies with which to form a coalition to continue in government.
The current cabinet is in power with the mandate given to second-ranked Bulgarian Socialist Party, which operates in alliance with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and with the tacit if capricious support of far-right ultra-nationalists Ataka.
BWC was recently founded as a political party around former television talk show host Nikolai Barekov, emerging with a populist platform built up after a big-budget roadshow around towns and cities in Bulgaria. Barekov formerly headed TV7, which is among the media ownerships of Irina Krasteva, mother of controversial figure Delyan Peevski.
Tanchev said that he was not joining BWC but would represent its economic platform in Parliament.
Separately, Barekov has said that Krassimir Stefanov, the former National Revenue Agency head elected as a GERB MP in the 42nd National Assembly but who on February 17 quit the GERB group, was to assist BWC as an “expert”.
Holding two MPs in the current Parliament – Stefanov is not formally joining Barekov’s party – BWC theoretically could now control whether the House would have a quorum to conduct proceedings. This scenario would mean Ataka’s support for a quorum would no longer be needed by the BSP-MRF axis.
The BSP and MRF together now have 119 MPs, two short of the quorum threshold of 121.
In recent weeks and months, there have been various announcements of intended court proceedings against Barekov.
Radan Kanev, leader of the extra-parliamentary Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria and spokesperson for the Reformist Bloc alliance of centrist and right-wing parties, said that he would sue Barekov for defamation for calling him “Ramadan Kanev” and alleging that the bloc was “fully funded and supported by money from the Turkish government and neo-Ottomans”.
In November, Borissov said that he would take court action against Barekov for “various lies and insults”. Borissov said at the time he was claiming 10 000 leva, which he would donate to charity, and said that he hoped that the action would teach Barekov a lesson about how to behave in politics.
Others who have announced court action against Barekov for defamation include former Varna mayor Kiril Yordanov (claiming 11 000 leva) and former newspaper publisher Lyubomir Pavlov (claiming 30 000 leva), according to a report by Bulgarian-language news website Mediapool.
Publishing house Economedia is suing Barekov and various Krasteva publications for violation of copyright for allegedly using photographs without permission, while Economedia owner Ivo Prokopiev reportedly is taking court action against Barekov, claiming a million leva damages.
Opinion polls are divided on BWC’s electoral chances, at best seeing it as entering a future legislature as one of the smallest parties.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)