Socialist Leader Says Possible Victory in European Elections Will Enable Her Party to Remove GERB from Power Domestically

January 26 (BTA) - In a political report to the 49th
Congress of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) in
Sofia Saturday, party leader Kornelia Ninova said: "If we beat
GERB in the elections, we can not only send to the European
Parliament people who will defend the Bulgarian interests but we
 can also remove GERB from power and initiate change in
Bulgaria." Ninova noted that BSP and GERB are running neck and
neck in opinion polls ahead of the European elections in May.

Representatives of the diplomatic corps, trade unions, employer
organizations and coalition partners were among the guests at
the Congress.

Ninova said that if the BSP candidates are elected to the
European Parliament, they will firmly defend the following:
equality of the member states without double standards;
accession of Bulgaria to Schengen; new Bulgarian nuclear power
facilities and a gas transmission network; revocation of the
sanctions against Russia; prompt establishment of a European
prosecution service; and integration of the Western Balkans.
"Our representatives will object strongly to the Istanbul
Convention and 'the third gender,' the gender ideology in
schools, the Macron package, and the double standards for food
products," she said.

Ninova urged the BSP Congress to come up with a declaration in
defence of Elena Yoncheva, a journalist and an MP of BSP who has
 been charged with money laundering. Ninova said the findings of
 an investigation conducted by Yoncheva are about to be
unveiled. Based on documents and other evidence, Yoncheva's
report will prove that there is "collusion between government
ministers concerning corruption and its cover-up."

Yoncheva herself took the floor at the Congress to make barely
veiled corruption accusations against the incumbents. She spoke
about "the boss of Bulgaria who has been running our country for
 10 years," apparently referring to Prime Minister Boyko
Borissov. Yoncheva warned of "creeping authoritarianism" and
asserted that "only the left wing can oust this regime."

Before the Congress, Party of European Socialists (PES)
President Sergei Stanishev said that BSP took part in the
process of adopting the PES manifesto for the European elections
 which was endorsed on Thursday. "Those who try to dig trenches
between BSP and the European political family will shoot their
own leg," Stanishev commented. "BSP aspires to govern the
country, but while we govern, who is going to be our ally in
Europe? Our commissioners, our prime ministers, our group."

According to Stanishev, the dispute about whether he should be
included on the BSP ticket for the European elections is
undermining the party's electoral potential. "We are risking
giving the victory in the European elections to GERB, mainly by
sending signals about internal squabbles and disunity," he

Many speakers at the Congress pointed to a direct link between
BSP's performance in the upcoming European elections and the
party's home policy agenda. "The outcome of the European
elections will determine whether there will be early elections,"
 BSP Deputy Chair Kiril Dobrev predicted. According to him, the
European ballot will be like a public no-confidence vote against
 the Bulgarian government and a dress rehearsal for the BSP
ahead of the local elections in the autumn.

The Congress unanimously adopted a declaration in support of
Elena Yoncheva and in defence of the freedom of speech. It also
endorsed the BSP platform for the European elections and the
party's Vision for Bulgaria.

The declaration says that the attack against Yoncheva is
undoubtedly a political favour to the incumbents. "You cannot
intimidate us. Today, we all are Elena Yoncheva," the Socialists

The party's platform for the European elections says that the
future BSP members of the European Parliament will oppose the
Macron package; will push for Bulgaria's accession to the
Schengen area without any additional conditions and against the
continuing implementation of the Cooperation and Verification
Mechanism; and will stand against the UN Global Compact for
Migration and the Istanbul Convention, whose provisions run
counter to the Bulgarian Constitution. The BSP proposes that the
 next European Commission include a Commissioner for Demographic
 Policy, Youth and Children.

The Congress approved a change to BSP's Vision for Bulgaria,
related to the Istanbul Convention. The new item says:
"Objectively, the Istanbul Convention contains acceptable
provisions about combating violence against women and children,
and we approve of these provisions. But according to opinions
expressed by experts and the public, the Convention is not in
unison with Bulgarian tradition and [the Bulgarian concept of]
family, which was acknowledged by the Constitutional Court." The
 text that was dropped from the Vision said that the Istanbul
Convention is not a convention against violence affecting women,
 but against fundamental principles of European civilization.

Vision for Bulgaria also stipulates a reintroduction of state
control over key sectors such as energy, infrastructure,
education, healthcare, internal order and security. RY/VE

Source: Sofia