Who Will Take Over from Sergey Stanishev as Socialist Party Chief?
A Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Congress due to result in the election of a new leader on Sunday after Sergey Stanishev has decided to step down.
Stanishev, currently President of the Party of European Socialist (PES) and former Prime Minister in the 2005-2009 cabinet, has headed one of Bulgaria's oldest parties for 14 years, and his legacy has so far had a controversial reception. While some hail his contribution to the party and point his PES office as a proof for his importance, others vigorously dispute any positive role he might have hand, placing an emphasis on the number of defeats in a row the BSP has suffered under his presidency. Others remind his cabinet made a number of deals which led some experts to allege his involvement into business circles with the participation of his wife, Monika.
Will all that said, it is important to keep an eye on the contenders to replace him on July 27 during the BSP's 48th National Cogress.
Born on May 6, 1976. The outgoing Economy and Energy Minister holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France; Master in Economics from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; specializations in Germany, France and the US.
Stoynev's political career started as he became an economic adviser to Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev (2005-2009). He also wrote economic reports for President (2002-2011), and also Stanishev's predecessor as BSP Chairman, Georgi Parvanov, between 2006 and 2007.
Stoynev was a member of the GERB (2009-2013) Parliament.
He was among the contenders to succeed Stanishev in 2012 (with some describing him as an indirect candidacy of Parvanov) but withdrew from the race.
Over the past weeks he has been described as Stanishev's personal favourite to take the post and also as the most likely successor.
He is fluent in French, Russian and English.
Born on June 16, 1960, he is the outgoing Parliament Speaker.
He studied law at the Sofia University, and has completed specializations in human rights (France), taxation (US) and anti-corruption practices (France).
He has been an MP since 1989, in the first National Assembly after the fall of the communist regime.
In 2008, he renounced his seat in Parliament to become Interior Minister, after a scandal led to the resignation of Rumen Petkov, a controversial figure considered by some to have had illicit contacts with the criminal underworld.
Mikov, described as "very close" to Stanishev, reportedly enjoys support from BSP Deputy Chairman Dimitar Dabov and is also known to get along with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).
He speaks French, Russian, Serbian and Croatian.
Born on May 4, 1965, the Deputy Parliament Speaker of the 42nd Parliament is known to be among the "spearheads" defending the actions of the BSP-led government in both Parliament and TV morning programs (where politics tops the agenda in Bulgaria).
She has studied History in Moscow and Economics and Law in the University for National and World Economy.
Her reputation was tarnished by allegations she had met the notorious Galevi Brothers (the same who contacted former Interior Minister Rumen Petkov).
It was Manolova who referred the "Kostinbrod affair" (with fake ballots allegedly prepared by center-right GERB in a printing house before the May 2013 general elections) to the Prosecutor's Office.
Manolova has also been one of the staunchest defenders of the government as protests raged over the appointment of controversial MP Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).
She speaks English and Russian.
Born on September 8, 1958. Stoilov, who apart from politics has made a career as a lecturer in Theory of Law and Political Science at the Sofia University (he holds a degree in Law there), is among the BSP's most familiar faces. Strangely enough, his name also evokes a relative degree of secrecy: his name has never been implicated in a political affair, a public scandal or intra-party conflict.
Stoilov has been a member of Parliament before 1989, and has taken part in all National Assemblies since the political transition began.
In 2006 he founded the so-called "Left Wing" within the BSP do defend the purity of the "left idea", a concept he is still standing for nowadays.
This is not the first time he is facing Stanishev to take over BSP: he also did in 2009, but lost.
Stoilov is one of the party's Deputy Chairmen, and he headed its parliamentary group in the outgoing National Assembly, but quit in protest over what he describes as "corporate interests" underpinning socialists' relations with the DPS.
He speaks English and Russian.
Born on January 16, 1969. Her Law degree is from the Sofia University, and the first steps she made in her career were in that field; later she also became an examining magistrate.
Ninova entered politics in 2005, when she was Economy and Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov's deputy during the term of the so-called "Three-Way Coalition". A scandal resulting in the resignation of Ovcharov also led to her dismissal.
She first became MP in 2009, during the GERB cabinet, but rapidly turned into one of the most vehement critics of its policies, and significantly contributed to BSP's stand as an opposition party.
She speaks English and French.
Born on August 28, 1966. He enjoys meda attention for being kind of a "dissident" within his own party: usually he is expected to rather disagree with BSP policies than back them.
Kadiev is a Master of International Relations, a degree he holds from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and has specialized in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
For a brief period he was a journalist and later editor at influential newspapers like 24 Chasa and 168 Chasa. He later pursued a successful managerial career in the private sector. In 2005, however, he was invited by Rumen Ovcharov to enter the cabinet.
He was an MP between 2005 and 2009, and also in the outgoing Parliament, though he quit in June 2014.
So far he has sought twice to head the BSP, winning 23% of member votes against Stanishev in 2012.
Kadiev has also run for Sofia Mayor two times.
He was Deputy Finance Minister in 2007, but resigned over disagreement with outgoing PM Plamen Oresharski, who held then the finance portfolio.
When the 2013 protests over the appointment of Peevski sparked, he did not hold his remarks about the party’s furious reaction.
He speaks English, German, Russian, Polish and Vietnamese.
Born on December 12, 1956, he is the owner of Bulgaria's largest and oldest trade fair - the International Fair Plovdiv. An entrepreneur though to have tightened his economic grip around the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, Gergov has often been described as close to President (2002-2011) Georgi Parvanov.
He does not tend to provide personal details, but is considered to be among Bulgria's richest people.
The youngest of contenders was born on December 11, 1974. An economist by training who has also worked at the Varna Airport, he has allegedly managed to retain most of his business contacts there.
He was Chief of Staff for Economy Minister Petar Dimitrov, who took over from Ovcharov in the "Tree-Way Coalition" cabinet.
In 2008-2009 he was at the managerial board of Kozloduy NPP.
His debut in Parliament was in 2013 (the current National Assembly), but despite his youth he has often been described as an already influential figure within some party circles.
He speaks English and Russian.
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