Yordan Sokolov, Speaker of Bulgaria’s National Assembly from 1997 and 2001 and who had been interior minister in the Philip Dimitrov government of 1991/92, died on February 24 2016. Sokolov was 83.
A lawyer who occupied senior posts in the Bulgarian Union of Jurists, in 1990 he was a founder of the Advocates’ Club for Democracy, which ultimately became involved in the Union of Democratic Forces, the anti-communist coalition founded as Bulgarian embarked on its transition from communism towards democracy.
Sokolov was appointed a member of the Central Election Commission in 1990 and later the same year became a legal adviser to President Zhelyu Zhelev, Bulgaria’s first democratically-elected president.
Sokolov went to become interior minister in the Dimitrov cabinet. After the Dimitrov government fell, Sokolov was returned to Parliament and became the chairman of the UDF parliamentary group.
His name was mentioned as a possible right-wing candidate for president in the 1997 elections but he stood aside for Petar Stoyanov, the UDF candidate who won that year’s elections.
In 1997, he was again elected as an MP and then as Speaker, becoming the first presiding officer of the Bulgarian Parliament after the beginning of the transition to democracy to serve a full four-year term. Sokolov also headed the parliamentary committee on combating corruption and the committee on European integration.
Sokolov was returned to Parliament in the 2001 elections, which were won by Simeon Saxe-Coburg’s party. Sokolov left the UDF in 2004 along with its former leader and former prime minister Ivan Kostov, becoming a founder member of Kostov’s right-wing Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria.
Sokolov declined to stand in the 2005 elections and returned to the legal profession. In 2011, he left the DSB in protest against it taking joint action in Parliament along with the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
Sokolov is survived by a wife and two daughters.
(Screenshot via BNT)