Parliament Chair Karayancheva Invites Hunger Striker Kolev to Participate in Ad Hoc Committee

Sofia, July 16 (BTA) - National Assembly Chair Tsveta Karayancheva and Interior Minister Valentin Radev visited hunger striker Nikolai "Barefoot" Kolev in his home here on Monday. Karayancheva told journalists that she has offered him to join a parliamentary ad hoc committee on the transport sector, which will be established.

Kolev, a civic activist and former anti-Communist dissident, has been fasting for 34 days to protest against corruption in the road transport administration.

The committee's establishment will be put to the vote in Parliament on Wednesday with its first meeting scheduled to take place on Thursday, the Parliament Chair explained. Karayancheva proposed that the ad hoc committee establishes the facts and circumstances in the transport sector and includes two representatives from each parliamentary group. She has asked Kolev to end his hunger strike and agree to undergo intravenous therapy, but he has refused, saying that he will make it until Thursday.

A medical team has examined Kolev and found him to be in a relatively good condition.

Earlier on Monday, Kolev said in a BTA-hosted news conference that he will only end his hunger strike if his demands are met, which include the resignation of Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski and the dissolution of the National Assembly.

Commenting Kolev's demanded dissolution of Parliament, Karayancheva said that the National Assembly is a legislative body and an institution elected by over 2.5 million Bulgarian citizens, which is why it cannot be disolved on anybody's request.

Kolev and his supporters demand that the President convenes a nationwide round table consisting of NGOs, territorial and other movements, which can raise precisely and clearly Bulgaria's problems, based on which a programmatic government and parliament can be formed to carry out the round table's resolutions.

Kolev has a long history of hunger strikes, starting in the 1990s when he fasted against the Communist regime. They made him a household name at the dawn of democracy in Bulgaria.

Source: Sofia