Post-election acrimony in Bulgarian Socialist Party in run-up to congress

The weekend of a meeting of the national council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party saw further open criticism of party leader Kornelia Ninova in the wake of the BSP’s European Parliament election defeat, with a week to go to a congress that will decide on the leadership question.

Ninova, BSP leader since May 2016, announced her resignation after the party ran second in Bulgaria’s May 2019 European elections, though she is standing to be re-elected at the congress on June 16.

Sergei Stanishev, a former long-time leader of the BSP and who has tense relations with Ninova, has pointed out that the May 2019 vote was the second election since 2017 when the party had expected to win, but lost.

Ahead of the European Parliament elections, already there had been tension when Ninova sought to ensure Stanishev, who leads the EU-wide Party of European Socialists, was not even on the BSP MEP candidate list.

This bid failed at a previous national council meeting, but post-election, Stanishev has not been named the head of the BSP group of MEPs, the post going instead to a lightweight, Petar Vitanov.

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