Ousted Leader of Bulgaria’s DPS Party to Formally Become Independent MP Monday
Lyutvi Mestan, the ousted leader of Bulgaria’s Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) will formally exit the parliamentary group of the opposition centrist party to become an independent member of Parliament on Monday.
Another five MPs from DPS, who sided with Mestan in his conflict with party founder and honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan last month, will also submit their declarations to exit the DPS group in parliament, one of the dissident MPs, Hussein Hafazov, told the Bulgarian National Radio on Sunday.
DPS will remain the the third-largest party in Bulgaria’s Parliament even after six of its MPs leave the parliamentary group. Currently, DPS holds 36 of the 240 seats in the chamber in which there are five independent MPs. At least 10 MPs are needed to form a new parliamentary group.
Mestan was dismissed as leader and expelled from the predominantly ethnic Turk party after Dogan accused him of betraying Bulgarian national interest by siding with Turkey on the downing of the Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber by Turkish Air Force jets in November 2015.
Mestan said at a news conference on Thursday that the declaration he had read in Bulgarian parliament in support of Turkey’s action aimed to dispel suspicions the party was pro-Russian. He also said that the Bulgarian national interests should be associated with NATO and the EU, and not with Russia.
According to Hafazov, the ouster of Mestan was allegedly linked to calls for renovation of DPS from party members.
“Unfortunately, the political elite of the party has backtracked on the ideas through which we not only won trust in elections but also made politics,” Hafazov said. “I have personally criticised to the party line for its connection to business circles.”
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