Tsvetan Tsvetanov, formerly the parliamentary leader of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, announced on September 20 the initiative committee of his Republicans for Bulgaria party, a week ahead of its formal founding conference.
Tsvetanov resigned all leadership posts in GERB in May 2019, amid controversy resulting from allegations connected to supposedly cut-price real estate transactions. He denied wrongdoing.
He went on to found a think-tank, the Euro-Atlantic Security Center, and in June 2020, resigned his membership of GERB.
Bulgaria is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in spring 2021, while for two months there have been large-scale public protests demanding the resignation of the government and early elections. Tsvetanov supports the call for early elections.
The 89-member initiative committee includes Gemma Grozdanova, twice an MP for GERB and who headed the National Assembly’s foreign policy committee before resigning from Parliament in July 2020.
Other members include Goran Blagoev, a senior journalist who presents the weekly Faith and Society programme on religious affairs on public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, Gunay Ismail, who recently resigned as GERB co-ordinator for minority issues in the Shoumen district, the Pavel and Roumen Valnev brothers, who have business in the US and used to own the BiT TV channel, and three-time world weightlifting champion Blagoy Blagoev.
Tsvetanov said that the Republicans for Bulgaria party would be in the centre-right of the political spectrum and committed to the Euro-Atlantic direction of Bulgaria’s development.
He said that the party would not be concentrated around a single person “as has been the case in political projects in Bulgaria”.
The founding declaration, read by journalist Blagoev, says that “Bulgaria is now governed without a clear vision for long-term development” and calls for “a cessation of conflict and a search for dialogue.”
Tsvetanov’s party envisages empowering diversity in Bulgaria and bringing together the country’s different ethnic groups, to end dispute among them and ensure their active participation in politics.
The main emphases of the future party’s programme are education, the judiciary, culture, small and medium-sized businesses, and e-government.
Recent weeks have seen three former mayors of cities who had been elected on GERB tickets join Tsvetanov, and a number of members in Plovdiv of the Union of Democratic Forces – recently an election partner of GERB – quit the UDF to join Republicans for Bulgaria. At the time of the announcement of the UDF defections in Plovdiv, the number who had gone over to Tsvetanov was said to be 300, while the UDF leadership countered with a claim that the number was closer to 30.
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