Football Legend Stoichkov Backs Bulgaria Ruling Party Presidential Hopeful
The greatest player in Bulgarian football history, Hristo Stoichko, has issued a rare political statement, vowing his strong support for presidential candidate of Bulgarian ruling party GERB, Rosen Plevneliev.
"I, Hristo Stoichkov, stand up with my name and my whole authority behind Rosen Plevneliev and the new future of Bulgaria," reads the star forward's message.
Since end of last week, Plevneliev has been involved in a peculiar scandal, after fellow GERB politician, Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov stated that back in 2007 Plevneliev received a solicitation for bribe by officers in the Sofia Municipality, but did not inform the authorities of the incident.
In his statement, Stoichkov addresses that matter, saying it is no occasion to denigrate Plevneliev and attacking what he sees as an unconstructive drive of some Bulgarian politicians to mar the reputation of rivals.
The footballer also mentions on a positive note "machos" like himself, Plevneliev and Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov, who with their no-fussing-about style are out to rescue Bulgaria from trouble.
Relations between Stoichkov and Borisov's GERB party have been generally good, with Borisov appointing the footballer to be Bulgaria's honorary consul in Barcelona, where Stoichkov had made his international fame as a player.
Over the summer, there were even rumors that Stoichkov might end up being GERB's candidate for president or vice-president of Bulgaria for October 23 elections.
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Many people forget the old articles:
Bulgarian press has recalled Saturday the case in which current Dutch Minister of Immigration Gerd Leers tried to trade influence for private gains in Bulgaria back in 2008.
Thursday it was Minister Leers who announced that for the time being the Netherlands will block the entry of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen, in spite of the fact they have fulfilled all technical requirements, due to concerns with corruption and organized crime.
The Netherlands' position was joined by other countries, such as France, Germany and the Scandinavian member-states, as a result of which Bulgaria and Romania did not receive the expected political decision to join, delaying entry indefinitely.
Saturday Bulgarian wide-circulation daily 24 Chasa recalls the events of 2008-9, a time when Gerd Leers served as the mayor of Maastricht.
Coming into contact with the mayor of Bulgarian Black Sea town of Byala, Leers negotiated to buy 2 yet to be built seaside villas for preferential prices against using his influence to secure European funds for the town.
The deal was reportedly concluded with the help of high-ranking Bulgarian officials.
In the end the Bulgarian contractors demanded a higher price from Leers, and it turned out that the estate was mortgaged, so after the project failed the future Dutch minister lost some EUR 230,000.
Although initially Leers claimed that he participated in the transaction purely as a private individual, information surfaced in the Dutch press that he had committed to trade his influence.
Early 2009 Leers submitted his resignation as the mayor of Maastricht.
This will be the elections of the criminal of the year !!!!!!!
As long as people like Yordan Lechkov and his GERB friends in Sofia are not in jail nobody can take the GERB serious.
Bulgaria has suspended 30 million euros in EU aid to the southeastern town ofSliven over possible fraud in the use of funds earmarked for environmental protection and regional development, officials said Wednesday.
"Funds with a total value of 60 million leva (30 million euros, $42 million) have been suspended since August while probing possible irregularities," a spokeswoman for EU Fund Management Minister Tomislav Donchev told AFP.
"This is a preventive move on the part of the Bulgarian government," she said.
Sliven is led by mayor and ex-football legend Yordan Lechkov, who is seeking re-election to a third term on October 23.
Sliven municipal councillors have complained about the lack of competition in municipal tenders for projects.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said he himself ordered the EU aid frozen but stressed that he still backed Lechkov's re-election bid.
Lechkov, 43, has been mayor since 2003, during which time he has also been embroiled in a series of corruption scandals.
A football legend in Bulgaria who was part of the national team which finished fourth in the 1994 World Cup in the United States, he was even dragged to court on charges of abuse of power but was cleared in March.
The Bulgarian government has taken great care in overseeing the proper use of EU funds after millions of euros in aid to the country were frozen in 2008 and subsequently cut.