Bulgaria’s ‘United Patriots’ co-leader Valeri Simeonov admits tensions in nationalist coalition

Valeri Simeonov, co-leader of the United Patriots grouping of nationalist and far-right parties that is the minority partner in Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s coalition government, has acknowledged that there have been tensions for several months in the group.

Simeonov said that there was “no communication” in the group and said that whether matters would be cleared up depended on his fellow deputy prime minister Krassimir Karakachanov, leader of VMRO and another of the United Patriots co-leaders.

The United Patriots joined Borissov’s third government, formed after the March 2017 early parliamentary elections. However, over recent months, there have been periodic public clashes between Simeonov and Karakachanov.

Recently, the United Patriots coalition has been prominent in opposition to Bulgaria’s Parliament ratifying the Istanbul Convention, which is directed against domestic violence but which is opposed by conservative, nationalist and far-right forces which claim it calls for recognition of a “third gender”.

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