Bulgaria’s 2021 elections: Democratic Bulgaria endorses Lozan Panov in presidential race

The constituent parties of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition have endorsed the candidacy of Lozan Panov, head of the Supreme Cassation Court, in the country’s November 2021 presidential elections, the coalition said in a statement on October 6.

Panov, whose is taking leave from his court post during the presidential election campaign, has journalist Maria Kasimova-Moase as his vice-presidential running mate. His term as head of the Supreme Cassation Court is due to end in February 2022.

His candidacy was announced on October 2 by Bulgarian judicial reform campaign group the Justice for All initiative.

Democratic Bulgaria said that its three constituent parties had voted to back Panov because he is an exponent of the coalition’s goals and values, which include strengthening the rule of law and fundamental freedoms through comprehensive reform of the judiciary, a comprehensive policy against corruption, and the conscious pursuit of full integration into the structures of the European Union, including the euro zone.

The coalition said that Panov was the natural candidate of the democratic community in Bulgaria “and the bearer of the authentic tradition of the struggle for democracy and the rule of law at a time when we are witnessing another substitution”.

Democratic Bulgaria said that it believed that if Panov were elected president, he could “uphold the agenda of national unity around real democratic and European values and a will for profound change, instead of false clichés about unprincipled agreement, behind which lies an attempt to change the truth and escape responsibility”.

It said that it believed that Panov could realistically and consistently oppose corruption, lead the effort to strengthen Bulgaria’s national sovereignty within the EU and Nato as a comprehensive and long-term policy and intensify the authentic constitutional role of the presidential institution in support of the rule of law, the separation of powers and the parliamentary character of the republic.

“Most importantly, through his consistent personal struggle for the rule of law and judicial independence, Mr Panov has provided concrete biographical evidence that he can be a truly independent president who does not bow to the powerful of the day and those behind the scenes, not give in when faced with difficulties, and not champion parties and clans,” Democratic Bulgaria said.

In Bulgaria’s November presidential elections, incumbent Roumen Radev is seeking a second term, standing as an independent, with the endorsement of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Slavi Trifonov’s ITN and the We Continue the Change party founded by former caretaker ministers Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev.

Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition is backing Sofia University rector Anastas Gerdzhikov, the nominee of an initiative committee.

With some days to go before the conclusion of the process of registration with the Central Election Commission, there are a number of other candidates, the nominees of initiative committees, political parties or coalitions. The final number of presidential candidates will be known after the CEC has checked the validity of all the applications for registration.

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