Bulgarian President's Double Standard on Dual Citizenship
According to the current Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria, people who have dual citizenship and/or have not lived in Bulgaria in the last five years are banned from running for president.
Last week, and out of the blue, Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, voiced support for the idea to eliminate this text from the Constitution.
The statement came on the heels of the announcement of the leader of the opposition Socialist Party, BSP, and former, Prime Minister, Sergey Stanishev, who said he would enter the presidential race if the Constitution is amended.
Stanishev was born in what was at the time the Soviet Republic of the Ukraine and has dual citizenship, obtaining a Bulgarian passport as late as 1996.
Parvanov's words stirred criticism from adversaries, who say the President's support is actually personal backing of Stanishev, a long-time party comrade. The current Head of State and former Socialist leader, denies the accusations on the grounds there is not enough time until the fall elections to amend the Constitution anyway.
True or false, it is a fact that Parvanov mentioned something on the long outstanding issue only after Stanishev did. Personal support or not, it is also a fact that our President remains, even at the end of his second term, true to his style of either not voicing opinions that would make an impact in the State or waiting in the sidelines for someone to do it first and then chime in.
It is also a fact that since the beginning of the 90s a large number of Bulgarians left their homeland in several emigration waves in search of a better live. It is well-known that this mass exodus deprived Bulgaria of some of its best people – millions of educated, talented, knowledgeable and able Bulgarians are now working abroad. The majority have dual citizenship.
How come the Head of State noticed all this just now, literally months before leaving office?
Of course, it truly does not make sense to allow people with dual citizenship to become Prime Minister and/or Speaker of the Parliament, while the largely ceremonial, but important as the face of Bulgaria, post remains out of reach for them.
So, while it is a little bit too late for Parvanov to shine with being the moving force behind removing the dual citizenship ban, it is high time to get rid of this now-absurd text from the Constitution – a text, both Parvanov and Stanishev admit has been written with the sole purpose of stopping two PARTICULAR individuals from entering the presidential race.
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