From socialism to capitalism... to feudalism?
bstoller at utopia2000.org
Sun Jun 10 09:59:54 MDT 2001
Agence France Presse; Telegraph. 10 June 2001. Bulgarian parties eject
communist-era spies ahead of poll; Former boy king poised for Bulgarian
poll victory. Combined reports.
SOFIA -- Bulgaria's former king Simeon II declared Sunday the electoral
lists of his popular coalition had been purged of old collaborators with
the communist-era secret police, ahead of legislative ballots next week.
Fifteen candidates had been stopped from standing for the Simeon II
National Movement (MNS II) in next Sunday's elections because their
names appeared in the files of the secret service, whose archives were
recently opened up for public scrutiny.
Among those ousted by the MNS II, widely tipped to triumph in the June
17 poll [NOTE THAT], were seven people whose names appeared on documents
but whose work as agents or informers was not proven [NOTE THAT].
"MNS II has taken a very difficult step in separating itself from people
whom it greatly values," read a statement from the former king, whose
electoral campaign has focused on raising moral standards [!!!!!!!] in
Bulgarian public life.
The ex-communist Socialist Party excluded 10 people with a proven record
as collaborators, and the ethnic Turkish party, Movement for rights and
liberties, rid itself of seven.
At the start of this month, a commission examining the archive declared
that at least 78 of the candidates standing in the elections had worked
as collaborators. The names of over 90 others suspected of collaboration
appear in the files.
Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, leader of the UDF, called for all parties to
exclude ex-collaborators whose names appeared in the archives, saying it
would be "impossible to guarantee the protection of secret information"
if former spies were elected to parliament.
"This is extremely important if Bulgaria is to join NATO," he said.
Simeon II chose Bulgaria's medieval capital of Veliko Turnovo, a
picturesque hillside town redolent of a more glorious age [?!?!?!!!], to
launch his final week of campaigning yesterday as his party heads for
victory in next Sunday's elections [thanks to removing all the
'ex-communists' who polls showed would have won].
The symbolism was powerful for the former boy king, dethroned by the
Soviet army when he was nine, as he addressed the crowd in front of the
ruined palace of a previous Bulgarian era.
The Madrid-based businessman, now 63, is on course to become the first
deposed monarch in the former communist bloc to reclaim power through
the ballot box.
He has dominated the parliamentary election campaign since forming the
National Movement for Simeon II, which has a comfortable opinion poll
lead over the ruling Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). However, while
the position of prime minister would be his if he wanted it, Simeon is
not running as an MP and has not declared what official role - if any -
he will take in a new government.
Instead, he is expected to exercise his authority through his
appointees, in the style of a king and his court.
His reticence has fuelled speculation that he hopes to use his party to
restore the monarchy, despite the lack of public enthusiasm for such a
move. Were he to accept public office, Simeon, who has never renounced
his claim to the throne that was taken away by a rigged referendum in
1946, would have to swear allegiance to the republic.
"He is going to avoid any opportunity to be faced with this challenge,"
says Svetoslav Malinov, a UDF strategist. "I think he is aware that he
simply cannot swear on the constitution."
The king has repeatedly avoided questions from journalists about whether
he planned to restore the monarchy. However, in a recent Spanish
newspaper interview, he extolled the virtues of a constitutional
The change to a parliamentary monarchy would require special elections
to create a "Great National Assembly", which would then need to vote by
a two thirds majority to amend the constitution - not easy, but possible
in a few years if his party is a success.
For now, Simeon promises a government comprised largely of Bulgarians
who have worked abroad in the financial and legal worlds.
He is brief on details, but says his party aims to eliminate corruption
and political partisanship, and to implement a new economic policy which
will "change the lives of Bulgarians within 800 days". His economic plan
for greater liberalisation and tax cuts does not differ significantly
from that of the ruling UDF.
Few of the locals who cheered his walkabout through Veliko Turnovo's
ancient streets yesterday backed a return of the monarchy. However,
disillusioned with their own home-grown politicians after a decade of
economic turmoil since the fall of communism [read: capitalist
restoration], they were attracted to a new face with a Western
Simeon recently told a Spanish newspaper that he has not ruled out
standing for president in November.
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