Bulgaria Ex-President Hints Air Force Chief Is Fit for Presidential Candidate
Maj Gen Rumen Radev, who resigned as Bulgaria's Air Force Commander on Monday, would be "more uniting" as a President than "any politician", President (2002-2012) Georgi Parvanov has said.
Parvanov, in an interview with private NOVA TV station, has called Radev "a general of [high] spirit" who is "highly educated".
"It was me who made him general," he has noted, amid speculation of close ties between Parvanov and Radev.
The former head of state has stopped short of endorsing Radev, saying his party will reiterate its previous proposal (Parvanov himself) for a joint candidate at the forthcoming talks with the socialist opposition.
However, he has not ruled out an outcome in which the two sides opt for a "uniting" figure.
"I find it really important that the presidential candidate should have the say when determining his running mate and the Chief of Staff... to establish himself as someone of strong personality and will that a President should have," Parvanov has also told NOVA.
The outgoing Air Force Commander's possible candidacy was unofficially put forward by sources at the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the largest opposition force in the country, who however stopped short of naming him as an official nomination.
BSP leader Korneliya Ninova, who earlier ruled herself out as a presidential candidate, spoke highly of him following last weekend's socialist "festival" where his and other names were mentioned.
Radev deposed his resignation two days later, citing long-standing issues at the Bulgarian Air Force.
The BSP is meanwhile in talks to name a joint candidate with Parvanov's Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV), a left-wing party that splintered off the socialists in 2014 while they were heading the government.
The two parties were initially at odds over ABV's apparent intention to nominate Parvanov and the BSP's categoric refusal to endorse such a candidacy.
GERB, the senior coalition partner in the government led by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, has not yet announced its candidate, amid speculation whether Borisov would run himself.
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