Head of Bulgarian Socialists Caught in Row over Homage to Communist Ruler
A civic movement has referred the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)'s leader Korneliya Ninova to the prosecution over her decision to pay homage to late communist ruler Todor Zhivkov along with several other lawmakers.
Ninova's actions on May 30, as part of a BSP meeting held in Pravets (the hometown of Zhivkov) constitute a breach of a law adopted in 2000 which declares communist rule between the mid-1940s and and 1989 a "criminal regime", news website Dnevnik.bg reports Ivan Sotirov, a former MP with right-wing SDS party, as saying.
Ninova and the lawmakers who took part in the homage have committed "a crime under Article 108 of Bulgaria's Criminal Code."
This is a possible reference to the article's first point: "A person who preaches fascist or another anti-democratic ideology or forceful change of the social and state order as established by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, shall be punished by deprivation of liberty for up to three years or a fine of up to BGN 5000."
Last week, MP Kiril Dobrev, who is said to be close to newly-elected Ninova, defended the move by saying that, had the BSP officials been in Kovachevtsi, the place where Commununist leader and Comintern head Georgi Dimitrov was born, they would have paid homage to him as well.
Zhivkov ruled Bulgaria between 1956 and 1989.
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