Bulgaria Socialist Party Ex Chair Alexander Lilov Dies at 79
Prof. Alexander Lilov, former leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), died on Saturday. He was 79.
Alexander Lilov was born on 31 August 1933 in the village of Granichak, northwestern district of Vidin. He graduated Bulgarian Studies at Sofia University and in Aesthetics and Art Theory at the Academy of Public Sciences in Moscow.
Up to 1989 he was a member of the political bureau and secretary of the central committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party and was in charge of ideology.
He was the second most powerful statesman after communist dictator Todor Zhivkov.
In July 1990 as Bulgaria convened its first post-communist parliament Lilov lead the the former comkunists, already calling themselves Socialists.
"We won't betray our campaign platform,'' Lilov told members of Parliament. ''And we will work with all of you for democracy and prosperity in Bulgaria.''
A few months later, in September 1990, Alexander Lilov was reelected to the party chairmanship, dealing a heavy blow to liberals who sought faster economic reform and a complete break with the party's authoritarian past.
The Socialists, presenting themselves as born-again democrats, won a surprisingly strong victory in parliamentary elections that year, winning 211 seats to the union's 144. The remaining 45 seats went to small parties.
Lilov’s main opponent in parliament at that time Zhelyu Zhelev, leader of the main opposition group Union of Democratic Forces, became in January 1992 Bulgaria’s first democratically elected president.
Out of all Bulgarian politicians in the country’s recent history, Lilov served the longest as member of parliament.