Nikolai Barekov, the former talk show host around whom the populist Bulgaria Without Censorship (BWC) party was formed and who once described himself as future prime minister and president of the country, said on December 22 that he was resigning as the chairman of the BWC coalition.
Big-budget campaigns for BWC in Bulgaria’s May 2014 European Parliament elections and October early parliamentary elections saw the political project formed around Barekov barely make a dent.
Spending millions on the European Parliament campaign saw BWC get just two MEP seats, one for Barekov and another for a coalition partner that subsequently quit the coalition.
Between the two elections, nationalist VMRO left Barekov to go in with Valeri Simeonov’s National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria to form the Patriotic Front, which after the October elections made a deal with Boiko Borissov’s GERB to support the centre-right coalition cabinet.
A particular debacle for BWC was one of its MPs announcing even before the 43rd National Assembly had held its first sitting that she would not sit as part of the BWC group but as an independent.
Barekov elected to remain an MEP, witness to a number of further departures from the BWC group, which in the National Assembly renamed itself the “Bulgarian Democratic Centre”.
Among the more recent to walk away from the parliamentary group was fellow former talk show host Rossen Petrov, who months ago caused mild astonishment by resigning from his talk show, live on air, while interviewing Barekov, to announce he was joining BWC. At the time, Barekov said that Petrov would be his interior minister, a plan that failed to come to pass as BWC fell vastly short of coming anywhere close to the cabinet building.
Such was the number of departures over recent months that two months ago, satirical Bulgarian-language website posted an item headlined, “Barekov quits Barekov”.
In a letter, a copy of which was published in Bulgarian-language media, Barekov said that the BWC executive had decided that he would start talks with “all interested parties” on a new opposition bloc to stand in the next early parliamentary elections and the 2015 municipal elections.