Democrats for Strong Bulgaria Party Re-elects Leader at National Conference

Democrats for Strong Bulgaria Party
Re-elects Leader Atanas Atanassov
at National Conference

Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - The right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) party re-elected leader Atanas Atanassov at its 17th national conference here on Saturday. The party reaffirmed its participation in the government coalition as part of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition.

Atanassov was backed by 288 out of 490 delegates. The other candidate, deputy leader Tsetska Bachkova, won 199 votes. The national leadership has 13 members, including the chairperson.

In his report to the delegates, Atanassov, who is also Democratic Bulgaria co-chairman, said: "We have managed to create an alternative to the vicious corrupt model of [former PM Boyko] Borissov." Atanassov said he had assumed the leadership at a time when there was a need to fight against the blurring of the separation of powers, the effacement of the institutions in general and the National Assembly and the judiciary in particular.

Atanassov slammed what he called GERB's attempts to usurp the Bulgarian right wing. "How can those who compromised democracy and restored the worst practices of the totalitarian State be a right-wing party?," he asked.

Summing up the DSB's successes, he said the party now has members of the national and the European Parliament and representatives in central and local government.

The leader stressed that the complex government coalition is faced with problems in the energy sector, the economy, health care and foreign politics. He said the DSB had two options: either to work towards strengthening the majority and the government, which is to set the country back on the track to modernization, review the previous governance and call the culprits to account, or to see a reversion to the GERB - Movement for Rights and Freedoms model dominated by corruption.

Talking about the DSB's results in the three parliamentary elections in 2021 and its poor showing in November, Atanassov said the new political player, Continue the Change, had gained a foothold on the hard-won electoral ground of the DSB "and literally sucked votes away from it". Still, the most recent elections cannot be termed a failure because the DSB has six MPs, deputy ministers, municipal councillors and a member of the European Parliament.

The leader explained that Democratic Bulgaria's decision to join the government coalition led by Kiril Petkov of Continue the Change had been difficult because the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is part of it. However, without Democratic Bulgaria the government would have been unstable and vulnerable to attacks from the status quo, said Atanassov.

He noted several right-wing priorities: a comprehensive judicial reform that goes beyond the replacement of Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev and urgent measures in the energy sector, health care and the economy. The price surge is part of Russia's strategy for destabilizing NATO's Eastern Flank, he stressed, adding that the Borissov cabinet had been the most subservient to Russia's interests in the last 30 years since the start of reforms in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria has an interest in a common future with North Macedonia in the EU based on Skopje's strict implementation of its commitments under the 2017 Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation, said Atanassov.

The DSB party sees the Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine as a threat to Bulgaria's security. The leader said Bulgaria should resume its role as a proactive NATO member.

The national conference heard addresses from the Prime Minister and from Democratic Bulgaria co-chairman Hristo Ivanov, who is leader of Yes Bulgaria.

Prime Minister Kiril Petkov hailed the DSB's political wisdom in defending the principles of democracy and its courage to join the government at a difficult moment. "To us, DSB as part of Democratic Bulgaria is an experienced strategic partner so that we can build a solid foundation for a predictable future and ensure a real political image of the democratic community," he said.

Hristo Ivanov thanked DSB for pioneering most of the ideas for which the Democratic Bulgaria coalition is fighting. He said the most difficult part - governance in a complex coalition - lies ahead.

The Green Movement of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition also sent an address. DD

Source: Sofia