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Bulgaria

Anniversary of communist takeover of Bulgaria causes row in Parliament

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Fri, Sep 09 2011 2049 Views
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A motion tabled in the National Assembly by an MP for the socialist-dominated Coalition for Bulgaria for a minute of silence to mark the anniversary of the September 9 1944 Soviet occupation of Bulgaria was defeated amid heated emotions.

In World War 2, Bulgaria sided with Hitler's Nazi Germany but as the tide turned, Sofia belatedly joined the Allies. Nonetheless, Soviet troops moved in, opening the way for a takeover by a communist regime that remained in power until the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

After the end of the communist era in Eastern Europe in 1989, and with the advent of Bulgaria's transition to democracy, the Bulgarian Communist Party renamed itself the Bulgarian Socialist Party. Currently, it is the largest opposition party in Parliament.

Veselin Metodiev, an MP for the centre-right Blue Coalition, objected to the motion for a minute of silence, tabled by socialist MP Yanaki Stoilov, news agency Focus said.

Instead of seeking a consensus, the socialists were forcing governing centre-right party, Boiko Borissov's Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) into a situation in which it was wondering how to respond to "this political impudence," Metodiev said.

He reminded MPs that previously Parliament had approved a resolution condemning the communist regime and honouring its victims.

September 9, Metodiev said, had a negative tinge because it was the date when Bulgaria had missed the opportunity to become a democratic state.

Focus quoted Stoilov as saying that September 9 was an "unusual day" in Bulgaria's history, a consequence of the country's involvement in World War 2, and many people had invested their political and social ambitions in the date.

Georgi Pirinski, foreign minister in a previous post-communist socialist government, former speaker and now a deputy speaker of Parliament, said that those who had taken part in the September 9 events had done everything possible to take Bulgaria away from its place during the war as a satellite of Hitler.

The Speaker of Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, said that the date was controversial. The motion was rejected.

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