Bulgaria's Last King 'among Presidential Nominees' of Socialist Party
Bulgaria's last King and former Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is among those who received nominations to become presidential candidates of the socialist opposition, news website Dnevnik.bg reports.
It also quotes Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)'s head Korneliya Ninova as ruling out the prospect of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha being endorsed.
The BSP is the heir to the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP), which ruled Bulgaria for most of the Cold War. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was in exile at the time, only returning to Bulgaria when the country was ten years into democracy.
It is not yet clear how many nominations he garnered within the party, with members of regional and municipal BSP structures having voted at conferences that are due to end Tuesday.
Ninova for her part is among those who gathered the biggest number of votes in the open nomination process, BSP lawmaker and former Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev has told the Bulgarian National Radio.
Two other "most popular" ones among socialist party members are national Ombudsman Maya Manolova, MEP Iliana Iotova, former Regional Development Minister Kostadin Paskalev, and legendary actor Stefan Danailov.
Ninova has repeatedly ruled herself out. However, earlier in July she publicly challenged Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, saying she would launch her own bid if he decided to announce his within 48 hours.
Other nominations that have been mentioned by BSP lawmakers include Gen Miho Mihov, from left-wing ABV (a former Chief of Defense) and Bulgarian Air Force Commander Gen Rumen Radev.
Stoynev has told BNR that it is likely for socialists to announce the name of a presidential candidate in mid-August, amid Ninova's promises it could happen by the time of the annual party meeting at Buzludzha.
The BSP is also in talks with ABV, the party of Georgi Parvanov who is a former socialist leader and was President of Bulgaria between 2002 and 2012, and a smaller left-wing party called Movement 21 that also splintered off the BSP.
Ninova has said meetings with both parties are due later this week, once the process of nominating potential candidates is over.
No major political party has announced a candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections as of July 25 noontime, even though the vote itself will not be held later than end-October or early November.
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