Bulgarian Stanishev steps down as leader of the Party of European Socialists – EURACTIV.com

Bulgarian politician Sergey Stanishev has announced he will not stand for a fourth term as leader of the Party of European Socialists when the party elects its president at a congress in Berlin on October 14-15.

Speaking in Sofia on Friday (September 16th), Stanishev, a former Bulgarian prime minister who served as PES leader for 11 years, blamed his poor relationship with the Bulgarian Socialist Party leadership as the main reason for his decision to stand down. remove.

The deadline for nominations expired on Thursday and the candidacy of Stefan Löven, Sweden’s former prime minister, has been submitted, Stanishev announced.

“You can’t be PES president if you don’t have a strong party behind you,” Stanishev said, adding that although he received a lot of support to run for another term, he would not run without being appointed by BSP. He accused the BSP of having lost a lot of credibility and its European identity under the leadership of Cornelia Ninova, who took over the BSP in 2016.

“BSP went in a different direction,” says Stanishev. “It is impossible that a party that wants to imitate Viktor Orban’s party can produce a PES president,” he added, referring to the Hungarian prime minister and his Fidesz party.

The BSP presents itself as a left-wing party but has begun to develop a distinctly nationalist profile in order to retain its aging and largely pro-Russian electorate. The party also sided with Bulgarian nationalists and opposed ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which aims to tackle violence against women, while Stanishev pushed for ratification .

Stanishev blamed current leader Ninova for not attending PES congresses and other PES events abroad.

“Unfortunately BSP has lost a lot of trust, a lot of European identity in recent years,” Stanishev explained. Relations between Stanishev and Ninova began to deteriorate sharply when the BSP was preparing for the 2019 European elections.

Despite Ninova’s resistance, Stanishev manages to assert himself and is elected to the European Parliament on the BSP list.

In Sofia, Stanishev hailed the successes of the PES under his leadership. “We are the most united political family in the EU,” he said.

He expressed concern about the multiple crises in Europe, including the energy crisis, inflation and the EU’s economic dependence on external factors, while warning that the war in Ukraine could spread to all of Europe.

Stanishev criticized the decision of the deposed government of Kiril Petkov, of which BSP was a partner, to expel more than 70 Russian diplomats from Bulgaria and to buy liquefied gas to replace Russian gas.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox/Zoran Radosavljevic]

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