Business | June 21, 2001, Thursday // 00:00

According to Filip Dimitrov, former prime minister and leader of the Union of Democratic Forces [SDS] the SDS should agree to take part in a government formed by the Simeon II National Movement coalition [SND], which won the 17 June general elections. "I do not think that the SND could be successful enough for Bulgaria if entering NATO in 2002 is not its primary objective. If there is not a clear continuity between its policy and the policy which has made the world respect and accept Bulgaria... [agency's ellipsis] a government could hardly hope for any serious results. Ensuring such a continuity in the future governance of the country means enrolling the figures who are a sign for our partners that we are really moving in the direction we claim we are going in," Dimitrov says in an interview for the e-magazine . In his words, from this point of view the SDS is obliged to take part in such a government which, however, should have clear and fair rules. "The SDS cannot be used, but if there are enough good indications that the king's coalition is really determined to achieve certain goals, then the SDS will be obliged to provide help in the name of Bulgaria," Dimitrov says. Filip Dimitrov, currently Bulgaria's ambassador to the United States and until a year ago permanent representative to the United Nations, was the SDS leader from the end of 1990 to 1994 when he resigned because at the time the SDS lost the parliamentary elections. In Dimitrov's view, to a great extent the Bulgarian nation has shown it does not see much difference between the doctrines of the SDS and King Simeon II's coalition. "In the eyes of the broad Bulgarian public, there is no any substantial difference between the goals of the SDS and those of the Simeon II National Movement," Dimitrov says, listing the two parties' identical goals: membership of NATO and the European Union, preserving the currency board mechanism, fighting corruption. "All these things provide a basis for cooperation and the public would be probably shocked if the SDS refuses to cooperate," Dimitrov says.

BBC: Ex-king gets blessing by Orthodox Church Holy Synod

Simeon II was given a blessing by the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Afterwards he talked with the metropolitans about a working group, which is to coordinate the work of the Holy Synod and the representatives of parliament and the government dealing with church problems. This was announced by Metropolitan Neofit of Dorostol and Cherven after the meeting on Wednesday. Patriarch Maksim congratulated the leader of the Simeon II National Movement on his success in the parliamentary elections and gave him a Bible. Simeon emphasized the importance of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the need to solve its problems, the Holy Synod's spokesman Metropolitan Neofit said. Simeon II's reluctance in the past to have official contacts with the late Patriarch Pimen and his followers, who split to form an alternative synod, was a sign of his support for Maksim's Synod, according to the spokesman. "I believe that His Majesty will do what is required to overcome the rift," he said. A possible visit to Bulgaria by Pope John Paul II was not discussed, Metropolitan Neofit said. "I believe that Simeon II will not be against it because his wife is a Catholic." If the Pope is to visit, there will be a state-church protocol which will be discussed by the Holy Synod, Neofit said, taking a question.

FT: Distribution of seats in 39th National Assembly detailed

The elections winner, the Simeon II National Movement, gets 120 seats in the 39th National Assembly - just one seat short of absolute majority in the 240-MP Parliament. The formerly ruling United Democratic Forces (ODS) gets 51 seats, the Socialists' Coalition for Bulgaria 48 seats and the ethnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) 21 seats. In the previous parliament ODS had 137 seats, the Socialists' Democratic Left 58 and DPS 19. ODS will not be represented in parliament in four constituencies: Kurdzhali, Silistra, Turgovishte and Shumen, all of them in areas with ethnically mixed population. Coalition for Bulgaria will not have its MP's from Dobrich, Kurdzhali, Razgrad and Silistra, according to the elections counters. The most seats for ODS (13) and Coalition for Bulgaria (6) are in the three Sofia constituencies. At the 1997 elections ODS got 23 MPs and the Socialists 6. ODS will have only one MP in each of 14 of the 31 constituencies and the socialists' coalition in 10 constituencies. The Simeon II National Movement got the most MPs from the Sofia city constituencies (16), Varna (8) and the Plovdiv district (7). Kurdzhali is the only constituency to be represented by only one political force after DPS won all five mandates there. In 1997, as many seats there went to the Alliance for National Salvation coalition in which DPS was one of the partners... The votes of Bulgarians in Turkey altered dramatically the interim results for Dobrich announced on Tuesday [19 June]. After these votes were added to the previous count on Wednesday, support for DPS skyrocketed from 8.1 per cent to 29.22 per cent and the Movement got 4 of all 7 seats from this constituency. At the previous elections DPS' Alliance for National Salvation had only one MP from Dobrich. Gergyovden-VMRO [St George's Day-Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization] started collecting in Dobrich Wednesday signatures under the motto "I did not vote this way!" In a declaration to the Central Electoral Commission and the president, the coalition, which almost made it into parliament, protest against the arrangement where all votes from Bulgarians in Turkey were added to the election results in the Dobrich multi-seat constituency. It will be more fair to have these votes equally distributed among four regions in the country that hold the roots of the Bulgarian emigrants in Turkey: Kurdzhali, Razgrad, Silistra and Shumen, said the chief of the Dobrich Gergyovden club, Stoycho Stoev. Another possible solution is to set up an extra constituency to get all votes from expatriate Bulgarians. Calculations of Gergyovden-VMRO show that they have lost 25 per cent of their votes to DPS after the votes from Turkey were added. It is not DPS' fault but of the previous parliament which passed a flawed electoral law, Gergyovden say.

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