Socialist Leader Ninova Says She Won't Be Personally Responsible for Party's Performance in European Elections
Sofia, April 15 (BTA) - Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Kornelia Ninova said late on Sunday night that she will not be personally responsible for her party's performance in the May 26 Bulgarian elections to the European Parliament because the list of the party's election candidates approved by BSP's policy-making National Council is different from what she had proposed.
Ninova faced opposition inside her party during the nomination process for the European elections. On March 17, she achieved her first major goal when the spokesperson of the BSP for Bulgaria parliamentary group, Elena Yoncheva, was elected to top the BSP ticket for the European elections. Ninova's other ambition was to keep Party of European Socialists President and former BSP leader Sergei Stanishev off the party ticket. On Sunday night, however, the BSP National Council put Stanishev in fifth place among the party's candidates for the European elections, which observers consider to be an electable position. The National Council also made other changes to the list which Ninova had proposed via the decision-making Executive Bureau.
Ninova was quoted in a BSP press release as saying after Sunday's decisions: "From now on, the responsibility for the election results will rest with the National Council. On more than one occasion during the latest meetings of the National Council I was expected to say that I would assume the responsibility for the list of candidates and for [our performance in] the elections. I would do that, and I was ready to resign if we lost, but not after what happened tonight."
She said she respects the National Council's decisions. "We can win these elections and I am certain we will."
According to Ninova, Sunday's decisions disproved allegations coming from within and outside the BSP that she was running the party single-handedly like a dictator.
For his part, Stanishev said Sunday's proceedings showed resistance to an authoritarian style of leadership in the BSP. "When you do things out of spite, you face resistance. [...] We could have spared ourselves all that. There has never been such tension in the BSP before about compiling lists of candidates," Stanishev told Nova TV on Monday.
Reacting to Ninova's statement that the responsibility for BSP's performance in the elections now rests with the BSP National Council, Stanishev described the remark as "unserious", adding that politicians should show more humility.
He went on to say: "What matters most to me is that the BSP stands in the elections with a strong vision for Bulgaria as a country which is respected and welfare-oriented in a united Europe. I will do everything within my powers to ensure that the BSP wins."
The BSP list of candidates for the European elections was approved by a vote of 110 in favour, no one against, and one abstention. Anton Koutev and Yanaki Stoilov recused themselves.
The approved list has Elena Yoncheva as the top candidate, followed by Peter Vitanov in second place, Tsvetelina Penkova in third, and Ivo Hristov (the President's Chef de Cabinet) in fourth. Next come Sergei Stanishev, Ivan Krustev, Deniza Slateva, Roumen Gechev, Momchil Nenkov, Velizar Enchev, Dimiter Danchev, Todor Stoilov, Valeri Zhablyanov, Mariela Modeva, Dessislav Taskov, Kroum Donchev and Emil Georgiev.
The original list proposed by BSP's leader Ninova excluded Sergei Stanishev and included Yanaki Stoilov and Deniza Slateva in second and third place, respectively, followed by Ivo Hristov, who is from the citizens' quota. IG/VE