BSP's Momchil Nekov 'Pressured' to Renounce MEP Seat
Momchil Nekov, who surprisingly made it into EP replacing BSP leader Sergey Stanishev, is under pressure to give up his seat, reports suggest.
The 28-year-old, who was number 15 of the Bulgarian Socialist Party's election list, is set to become one its four MEPs after having received a huge portion of preference vote in the European elections.
Nekov, who has been adamant he would go to Brussels, was summoned to the BSP's headquarters, where fellow members took great effort to talk him out of becoming MEP.
He was also offered a high-profile position, either as MP in the next Parliament or the office of Deputy Minister, the Bulgarian daily Trud reports, citing well-informed sources not disclosing their identities.
BSP's media secretary Anton Kutev denied in Parliament on Thursday that any pressure was applied on Nekov to give up. Also in Parliament, socialist MEP Kiril Dobrev called on media to end comments on the topic, as Nekov had taken his decision. He was quoted by Dnevnik.bg as saying the future MEP had already "purchased a ticket to Brussels" and shown it to Dobrev on Wednesday.
Nekov has not been available for comments to most Bulgarian media.
The likelihood that he might gain a seat as MEP has however divided opinions within the BSP, with some like Deputy Chair Yanaki Stoilov insisting other "people had a better ground to be in the European Parliament" and the controversial MP Strahil Angelov (who recently visited Syria) speaking in favour of Nekov's place there.
After it was announced Nekov might enter the European Parliament following massive (and by mistake) ticking of #15, both for party number and preference vote option at the European elections on May 25, it turned out the young "number fifteen" would replace the #5, Dostena Lavergne, as MEP.
Even though the BSP has gained only four seats, she was poised to take the office, as leader Sergey Stanishev, who topped the list, had announced he would renounce his seat in her favour.
The massive preference voting for Nekov has however deprived him of that choice.
In an interview for the private channel bTV, Lavergne described the developments as a result of a technical blunder, which for its part was caused by problems in the Election Code. She said there was no other way for "an unknown [candidate] to replace the party leader".
According to the Central Electoral Commission, "double" ticking - that of the same number in "parties" and "preference" columns - have been observed among supporters of all Bulgarian political parties.
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