The names of those who will top the election candidate lists of major parties in Bulgaria’s May 25 2014 European Parliament elections are emerging, with few surprises and with recycling a popular practice.
On March 14, President Rossen Plevneliev confirmed in the National Assembly the date on which Bulgarians will be asked to choose their 17 MEPs.
The largest party in the National Assembly and the one that currently also has the most MEPs, centre-right GERB, already had named Tomislav Donchev as its list leader.
On March 16, GERB leader Boiko Borissov announced the names of two others who would be joining the former European Union funds minister on the party’s candidate list: Andrei Kovachev and Maria Gabriel, both sitting MEPs.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party, the second-largest party in the National Assembly and the current holder of the mandate to govern, confirmed on March 15 that its list would be topped by Sergei Stanishev, leader of the BSP and of the EU-wide Party of European Socialists.
Stanishev, who was prime minister of Bulgaria from 2005 to 2009, did not include himself in the cabinet named in May 2013 and is widely seen as having ambitions at EU level, possibly as a European commissioner. The PES has named Martin Schulz, now President of the European Parliament, as its candidate to be the next European Commission President.
Second on the BSP list is Ilyana Yotova, currently an MEP, and Georgi Pirinski, a former Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament and a former foreign minister.
The third-largest party in the 42nd National Assembly, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, has not yet announced its European Parliament candidate list.
On March 16, MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan said that the party’s European Parliament candidate list would be announced on about April 20.
The Reformist Bloc, an alliance of a number of centre-right parties currently without representation in the National Assembly, is to announce its list on March 22. However, the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (DSB), a founding party of the Reformist Bloc, announced nominations on March 15.
The DSB nominations are headed by Svetoslav Malinov, an MEP for the centre-right (and effectively defunct) Blue Coalition, and also include Ivana Eneva, a professor at the Art Academy, and blogger Ivo Bozhkov.
It is expected that when the Reformist Bloc list is announced on March 22, it will be headed by Meglena Kouneva, former European Commissioner and leader of the Bulgaria for Citizens movement.
Among other parties seen by some polls are having a chance of winning a place in the European Parliament, Georgi Purvanov’s ABC movement’s candidate list is headed by MEP and former foreign minister Ivailo Kalfin, and the Bulgaria Without Censorship list is headed by BWC leader Nikolai Barekov, although he has been quoted as saying that he does not intend taking up the seat.
(Photo montage: Tomislav Donchev, left, and Sergei Stanishev)