Appeal to stop ‘show in the media’ as Bulgaria’s Reformist Bloc grapples with unity issue

Appeal to stop ‘show in the media’ as Bulgaria’s Reformist Bloc grapples with unity issue


By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

An MP for Bulgaria’s centre-right Reformist Bloc has appealed to his coalition colleagues to stop their “show in the media” and exchanges of jokes online as the bloc wrestles over the issue of unity – facing again postponing a congress that would have discussed the question of the Reformist Bloc’s future leadership.

Made up of a number of parties, the Reformist Bloc postponed a September congress that would have addressed the question of electing a single leader of the coalition. It set a November date, but on November 14 Meglena Kouneva’s Bulgaria for Citizens called for postponement of the congress, saying it would be “counterproductive and inappropriate” to tackle the question before there was unanimity on the leadership issue.

The Reformist Bloc has 23 MPs in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, and is represented in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s Cabinet through a formal coalition agreement signed on November 6.

That agreement was preceded by vexed internal disputes in the bloc about working with a Borissov government, an issue that predated the October 5 elections and many months before that.

The November 14 statement by Kouneva’s party said that holding the congress this month would not be appropriate, before trust among the parties in the coalition improved tangibly and before there was a common position on the leadership question.

The Bulgaria for Citizens executive council said that there was a high level of mistrust among some of the parties in the Reformist Bloc and pledged to work to restore good relations within the coalition.

The bloc’s congress is now expected to be held in January or possibly February 2015.

At the weekend, Petar Moskov, Health Minister and deputy leader of the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, said that the call by Kouneva’s party to postpone the congress was sabotage against the possibility of the cabinet ministers from the bloc working to implement reforms.

He and Daniel Vulchev, a close Kouneva ally, exchanged views via the media and jokes on Facebook on the issue, prompting Reformist Bloc MP Martin Dimitrov in turn to issue a public call to his colleagues to show more restraint in their media statements.

Dimitrov called on his colleagues to stop the “show in the media” and said that good jokes were told in small companies out of the spotlight.

He said that the bloc was part of the government which had a chance to achieve a lot in change and reform.

“In every grouping of the right, a grim battle begins over introducing dividing lines. It is up to us to maintain and building progress,” said Dimitrov, himself experienced in what can happen to attempts at right-wing unity in the days past of the Blue Coalition, a former alliance between the DSB and the Union of Democratic Forces. Dimitrov was UDF leader, but was ousted at the time by those opposed to the continuation of the Blue Coalition format of co-operation with the DSB.