Bulgaria elections 2017: Former nationalist MEP is candidate for ‘Turkish party’

In one of the most astonishing twists in Bulgaria’s 2017 early parliamentary elections, Slavi Binev – formerly a member of the European Parliament for Volen Siderov’s far-right Ataka party and once its candidate for mayor of Sofia – is standing as a candidate for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the party led and supported in the main by Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity.

“I think the MRF is one of the most patriotic parties, which split with an unpatriotic part,” Binev said in a television interview on February 24.

This was an apparent reference to the 2015 episode in which Lyutvi Mestan was ousted as MRF leader for backing Turkey in its dispute with Russia, going on to form his own DOST party.

Binev, who at one point had his own GORD (“proud”) party, before merging it into Valeri Simeonov’s nationalist National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria in 2013, said that Bulgarians live with too many stereotypes and that should change.

“Radicalism is one of the biggest problems for all of society. There are radicals in both the Muslim and the Christian world. We need patriotism to show in every way that we are together,” Binev said in a television interview.

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