Bulgarian former justice minister Hristo Ivanov lodged papers in the Sofia City Court on January 13 to register the “Yes Bulgaria” political party, expressing confidence that the party would be registered in time to take part in early parliamentary elections expected in late March 2017.
The new party is standing on an anti-corruption platform, geared towards judicial reform and has a list of big-ticket business deals – including the Corporate Commercial Bank failure, Bulgartabac and Lukoil – that it wants Parliament to investigate.
Ivanov was justice minister in the 2014 caretaker cabinet and went on to hold the same portfolio in the second Borissov government, but stepped down at the end of 2015 over dissatisfaction with the form of constitutional amendments approved by Parliament, changes that the ruling majority billed as a step forward for judicial reform.
Ivanov, speaking at the court, told reporters that more than the minimum number of signatures to apply to register the party had been collected – about 3000 – and said that he believed that the application documentation was in order.
He said that the party had gathered about 115 000 leva in donations from 997 individuals, with donations averaging 100 leva (about 50 euro).
The party posted a statement of revenue and spending weekly, said Ivanov, underlining that the broad base of donors was the basis for the party being independent.
Following a constituent meeting earlier in January, which saw turnout exceed expectations, even in spite of the frigid weather that had Bulgaria in its grip, the party has chosen a leadership group.
Various established minority parties have been mentioned as possible coalition partners of “Yes Bulgaria”, including Radan Kanev’s Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria – which broke with the government-supporting Reformist Bloc to go into opposition after Ivanov resigned from the justice portfolio – and the Greens party.
Earlier, Ivanov said that the “Yes Bulgaria” party would not work with any party that did not accept its list of questionable dealings that should be investigated.
At the constituent meeting of the party, Ivanov pledged that the party would be a serious, long-term project intended to change the political landscape, and would have fighting corruption as its main cause.
Fighting corruption was the party’s main cause because the state had to be won back from the mafia, a step that was key to achieving all other objectives, he said.
Ivanov said that the party already had about 4500 members. Anyone wanting to join had to declare that they had not worked for State Security, Bulgaria’s communist-era secret service. Those involved in corruption would not be allowed to join and any member found to be involved in corruption would be expelled, he said.