Georgi Purvanov to step down as leader of his ABC party
Georgi Purvanov said on December 21 that he would step down from the leadership of his ABC party at a congress on January 15 2017.
The deputy leaders of the party, Ivailo Kalfin and Roumen Petkov, are also to step down.
Purvanov said that the decision was taken because of a need for a change in policies.
“We are taking a step back, to open the way for the youth,” Purvanov said in a television interview, adding that recent political events showed that people wanted change.
He emphasised that in no way was he withdrawing from politics.
“There should be a new type of party. Parties up to now have a conservative type of structure,” Purvanov said.
Purvanov, who worked for Bulgaria’s communist-era secret service under the code name “Gotse”, was leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party from the end of 1996 until the end of 2001, when he was elected Bulgaria’s head of state.
After two consecutive terms as President, towards the end of which he founded ABC as a “civic movement”, Purvanov challenged his former protege Sergei Stanishev in a bid to get back the leadership of the BSP, but failed.
He went on to transform ABC into a political party, which in October 2014 won 11 out of 240 seats in Bulgaria’s Parliament. ABC initially was part of the coalition deal around the second Boiko Borissov government, but quit in May 2016.
Purvanov stepped down as leader of ABC once before, over divisions in his party over a foreign loan issue by Bulgaria, but was re-elected.
In Bulgaria’s November 2016 elections, Purvanov’s close ally Kalfin came in seventh at the first round, out of 21 candidates, with a mere 3.28 per cent of the vote.