A total of 267 candidate mayors in Bulgaria’s October 25 2015 mayoral and municipal elections had worked for the country’s communist-era secret service State Security, according to a check by the Dossier Commission.
A list compiled by website desebg.com from the Dossier Commission report found that the largest number of former State Security people was among the list of candidate mayors nominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) or coalitions in which the BSP is taking part in the mayoral elections. In all cases, the list compiled by desebg.com included candidates either nominated directly by parties or by coalitions in which a party was participating.
The second-largest number was candidate mayors for Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party, 41.
The third-largest number was candidate mayors nominated by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, 39. At national level, the MRF was founded and led for many years by a former State Security agent, Ahmed Dogan, and now is led by another one, Lyutvi Mestan.
This was followed by ABC (whose national leader is Georgi Purvanov, a former BSP leader, former head of state and who was Agent Gotse to State Security), 15.
Centre-right coalition the Reformist Bloc has nominated 11 candidate mayors who used to work for State Security, nationalist party the National Movement for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB) has seven, the NFSB’s national-level coalition partner VMRO (the two make up the Patriotic Front) has six, Volen Siderov’s far-right Ataka has five, and the Bulgarian Democratic Centre (which arose from Nikolai Barekov’s Bulgaria Without Censorship) has four.
Among parties and coalitions that are not represented in the National Assembly, the National Union coalition has nine candidate mayors who are former State Security people, former defence minister Nikolai Tsonev’s New Alternative has five, Yane Yanev’s Order, Law and Justice party has three, Alexander Tomov’s Social Democrats two, Tatyana Doncheva’s Movement 21 has two, Glas Naroden (“Voice of the People”) two, Velizar Enchev’s Movement for Radical Change “Bulgarian Spring” two and Barekov’s BWC, one.
Fifty-four other State Security people are spread among a long list of other smaller parties and coalitions not represented in Parliament.
Desebg.com said that in the Danube city of Rousse, incumbent mayor and GERB candidate Plamen Stoilov had been identified as having worked for State Security’s Third Directorate from 1987. Rousse was one of two places where in the October 25 mayoral and municipal elections, the list of candidate mayors included two who had worked for State Security. The other mayoral candidate with a State Security background was Daud Mehmed Ibraym, nominated by the MRF.
The other place with two former State Security on the list competing for the mayor’s chair was Gintsi mayoralty in the Godech municipality, where the BSP’s Ognyan Petrov and GERB’s Georgi Todorov were competing.
One candidate’s name appeared twice, Borislav Dimov, a candidate in the Gara Bov mayoralty, because he was supported there by a BSP-ABC electoral coalition.
Of the 267 candidates named as having been linked to State Security, 27 were full-time employees and the rest were retained in other capacities.
Seventy of the 267 were identified for the first time, while the rest had been disclosed by the Dossier Commission after checks of various institutions and in previous municipal elections in 2007 and 2011, as well as a result of check-ups of managers in municipalities.
The longest-enduring mayor with a State Security background was the BSP’s Milcho Vukov, mayor of Bregovo municipality in the Vidin region, who has won four elections previously, in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011, all on the first round, and is seeking a fifth term.
In all, a total of 42 702 people are standing for election in Bulgaria’s cities, towns and villages on October 25.
There are 1605 candidate municipal mayors, 10 072 district mayor candidates and 696 borough mayor candidates. Candidate municipal councillors add up to 35 771.
The Central Election Commission previously said, in a comment on the number of candidates, that the figures did not add up to the total number of candidates because a candidate may stand simultaneously to be mayor and a municipal councillor.
(Photo: The message required by law for broadcasters to show accompanying election-related material: it translates, ‘buying and selling votes is a crime’)