Tue, May 21 2013
The newest green political party Zelenite (Bulgarian Greens) was established on May 18 in Sofia by a number of environmental non-government organisations (NGOs).
Among the party's founders are members of To Sustain the Nature in Bulgaria coalition; Balkani Wildlife Society (BWS); UNECO University Club for Environment; Green Policy Institute (GPI); Centre for Environmental Information and Education; Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation; Cooperation for Voluntary Service Bulgaria (CVS); Bluelink.net; Borrowed Nature; association Za Zemiata (For the Earth); organisers and volunteers of the national campaigns for salvation of Irakli Black sea beach, Strandja nature park, Rila and Pirin national parks. NGOs are not allowed by law to establish political parties.
Hristo Genev, a psychologist and has political experience in the past in the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union, was elected general secretary of the party. The three co-chairpersons are Andrey Kovachev from BWS, Petko Kovachev from GPI (no relation) and Denitsa Petrova, also from GPI . Zelenite's treasurer is Julia Yordanova from CVS.
The non-governmental organisations' members decided to form a political party despite their unwillingness to take part in the political life of Bulgaria, as, according to them, during the years of work in the non-governmental sector they could achieve only small changes in the way the state treats the environmental problems and small amendments to some laws on biodiversity and nature preservation. However, even being members of various working groups on environmental problems within the Ministry of Environment and Water Affairs and other institutions, the non-governmental organisations representatives had no right of vote and decision-making within those bodies.
By establishing Zelenite, they hoped to get into the political life and to achieve substantial changes by stimulating the civil society and opening equal possibilities for citizens' participation in the decision-making processes, working towards expanding the direct democracy, do changes within the legislative system, and working for achieving sustainability in different societies and regions, participants said.
Zelenite is not the first political party to adopt the 'green' rhetoric. One of them is Zelenata Partia (Green Party), which is the oldest and has existed since the communistic regime fell down in 1989. However, according to Zelenite members, this party is not functioning or if it does, it is not doing it on the most environmental way.
The other green party formed recently in Bulgaria is Zelena Bulgaria (Green Bulgaria), which reportedly is established by businesses trying to gain key positions in Bulgarian regions that are attractive for tourism and other investments. This argument is backed by the fact that the party appears to have extensive financing to campaign during elections, a trait that has never been typical for other local environmental movements.
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