Bulgarian Socialist Leader Stanishev Changes Plans, Remains MEP
Bulgarian ruling party chief Sergey Stanishev has surprisingly submitted to Parliament a request to be freed of his duties as a lawmaker in order to become MEP.
His move suggests a sharp turn in plans he has maintained over the past months.
Socialist party officials, who confirmed the report first issued by Focus News Agency, said Stanishev deposited his resignation as member of Bulgaria's Parliament on Monday, 17:34 EEST (15:34 GMT), in the last possible minutes he could do so.
Stanishev personally announced his decision on Tuesday afternoon, citing "the new situation in Bulgaria and Europe after the [European Parliament] elections" as a motive.
He added he would remain the socialists' leader, despite numerous calls on him to step down following the poor election results in May.
So far he had reiterated that he was only the symbolic flagman of his party's list and was to be MEP only for a month in order to promote the nomination of Martin Schulz as the socialist candidate for EU Commission President.
Initial plans envisaged that he go to Brussels and stay there only until end-June to later return to Bulgaria and concede his seat to Petar Kurumbashev, who was elected from the Bulgarian Socialist Party's list at the European Parliament vote held May 25.
The BSP gained four MEPs, with an unexpected development that ousted candidate Dostena Lavergne from her seat after massive preference vote placed the list's No.15, Momchil Nekov, on top, placing Stanishev second.
Alongside Kurumbashev, socialists were intending to send only Momchil Nekov, Iliana Iotova and Georgi Pirinski, but Stanishev announced he would enlist himself temporarily to fulfill his elections-related duties as the President of the Party of European Socialists (PES), a party within the European Parliament's S&D group.
He thus deprived Kurumbashev of traveling to Brussels to be sworn in with the other MEPs, but asserted that would happen as soon as Stanishev returned to Bulgaria to continue his work as a lawmaker and party chief.
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