Bulgarian Right-Wing Party Expels 'Maverick' MPs
Former leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, MP Martin Dimitrov, was expelled on Monday. Photo by BGNES
Bulgarian right-wing party Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (UDF) has expectedly expelled its former leader, as well as two other key MPs, over their reluctance to side with a constitutional judge nomination imposed by the ruling centrist-right GERB.
Earlier on Monday, UDF head Emil Kabaivanov threatened to expel the party's former leader Martin Dimitrov and two more high-profile members – Dimo Gyaurov and Vanyo Sharkov.
The mavericks are now officially kicked out, since they vehemently opposed the nomination of former President Petar Stoyanov for constitutional judge, seeing in it an attempt by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to attract the allegiance of the Union and create further divisions in the feeble parliamentary Blue Coalition between UDF and the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party.
UDF lawmakers also stated that the party was used by the ruling centrist-right GERB as a cover-up of its own failure to elect a constitutional judge.
A seat in the Constitutional Court remained empty on November 15, when Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev walked out just as controversial judge Veneta Markovska was about to swear in.
Markovska's name had become implicated in allegations of trade in influence, which she was unable to dispel, but nevertheless chose not to resign, after being elected to the Constitutional Court by Parliament.
Last week, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly invited UDF to nominate a replacement for Markovska on grounds the formation was the oldest right-wing party in Bulgaria and is a member of the European People's Party, EPP, similarly to his ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.
UDF's governing body agreed and nominated former President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2001) for constitutional judge. However, Stoyanov declined.
The rift in the Blue Coalition started in the spring of 2012, when UDF decided they would not run on the same ballot with DSB in the upcoming 2013 general election. The Coalition fell apart because many UDF supporters see Ivan Kostov, leader of DSB, as the archenemy and the power-hungry individual who in 2000s split Bulgaria's symbol of democracy – the right-wing movement.
The decision, however, prompted then UDF leader and MP, Martin Dimitrov, to resign. He was replaced by the largely-unknown Mayor of the town of Karlovo, Emil Kabaivanov.
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