Bulgaria's 2nd-Largest Opposition Backs Ex-PM Oresharski for President

Politics » DOMESTIC | October 20, 2016, Thursday // 13:32
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's 2nd-Largest Opposition Backs Ex-PM Oresharski for President DPS leader Mustafa Karadaya has made it clear his party wil be the kingmaker in Bulgaria's presidential elections. File photo, BGNES

The second-biggest opposition party of Bulgaria, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) has endorsed former PM Plamen Oresharski in the presidential elections.

Oresharski is the previous elected Prime Minister, who headed the 2013-2014 government in which the party was a junior coalition partner and which collapsed less than 14 months into office. It was during his term that Delyan Peevski, a controversial lawmaker and media mogul, was appointed as head of the Bulgarian counter-intelligence agency, DANS.

The move triggered nationwide protests that lasted for more than a year, albeit reduced to the capital Sofia and with crowds getting thinner.

Oresharski's government is also credited with the collapse of the fourth-largest Bulgarian lender, Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), and is blamed by the opponents of the DPS and socialists (who were officially the dominating party in the coalition) of failing to handle the crisis it caused.

The former Prime Minister had said he would not pursue a career in active politics anymore but registered surprisingly to run as an independent candidate.

"In the Day of the Constitution, June 13, in our declaration from the rostrum of the [Parliament], we outlined the profile of the necessary president of the country in the current political times," daily 24 Chasa quotes DPS leader Mustafa Karadaya as saying at a press conference.

He adds Bulgaria's head of state has to be "non-partisan", a "Euro-Atlanticist" who will stand up for the achievements of democracy and "be sensitive to human rights".

In 2013, just after the Day of the Constitution, the biggest anti-government protests in Bulgaria's recent history began after the appointment of Peevski, leading up to counter-protests and pressuring the government to step down.

Karadaya last week said the party's role would be crucial in determining the outcome of the presidential election.

Such claims have been made in surveys by two polling agencies, Gallup and Alpha Research, both arguing the DPS is of vital importance for the election result.

Oresharski for his part has already said he would expect to be potentially supported from either GERB or the DPS throughout the election campaign.

All opinion polls conducted so far have predicted support of not more than 2-3% for Oresharski, which leaves him far behind in the race.

How the DPS's endorsement will affect his chances, however, is yet to be seen.

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Tags: DPS, Plamen Oresharski, DANS, KTB, Delyan Peevski, Presidential elections
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