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06/12/2016

PES to hold congress and seek successor to Stanishev

Elections

PES to hold congress and seek successor to Stanishev

Sergei Stanishev

The Party of European Socialists (PES) will convene a congress in early 2015 and will seek a new leader to replace Sergei Stanishev, Philip Cordery, a French Socialist MP who has long served in Brussels as Secretary General of PES, told EurActiv.

Speaking to EurActiv France, Cordery, who is now in charge of EU affairs in the French Socialist party, said “there will be a Congress next spring, and the question of its president will be raised”.

The PES Congress was normally due later in the year, and Stanishev has recently said that he would seek reelection at the congress of his political family next autumn.

Stanishev has been absent from meetings with Socialist leaders, organised in Paris at the invitation of French President François Hollande.

>> Read: Paris socialist pre-summit focuses on economy, employment

Sergei Stanishev was elected as PES President in September 2012 for a full two-year term. Before that, he assumed the PES interim presidency after his predecessor, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, stepped down in late 2011.

>> Read: Stanishev elected PES president

Following his election as PES President, Stanishev, a former prime minister of Bulgaria,  kept his post as leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). BSP was the leading force in a minority coalition government that took over on 29 May 2013 and resigned on 23 July 2014. One of the biggest scandals of this cabinet, led by Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, was to appoint Delyan Peevski as leader of the country’s State Agency for National Security (DANS). Peevski, who controls a media empire called the New Bulgarian Media Group, is considered a shady power broker.

The vote in the Bulgarian parliament on 14 June, which installed Peevski as chief of DANS, took the country by surprise, and unleashed boisterous protests. Peevski is a member of parliament from the Movement of Rights and Freedoms (DPS), a political party representing the Turkish minority in Bulgaria that was in coalition with BSP.

>> Read: PES leader Stanishev under pressure from protests at home

Stanishev has also been reproached the “political compromise” to keep alive a minority government coalition in Bulgaria thanks to the support from the extremist Ataka party. The French socialists have hardly forgotten that the leader of the far-right party Front National Marine Le Pen during a TV talk show attacked French minister of economy Pierre Moscovici, precisely on the account of the support Stanishev is getting from Ataka.

In this period of time, PES Vice President Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, who is now leader of the French Socialist Party (PS), had openly criticised Stanishev.

Stanishev is now an MEP, as he was leading the list of BSP at the European elections. But he wasn’t elected first, because Momchil Nekov, a little known young socialist activist, received more preferential votes than him.  The Bulgarian stepped down from the post of leader of BSP and was succeeded by Mihail Mikov.

Background

Sergei Stanishev was born in 1966 in Kherson, Ukraine, at that time part of the USSR. He is the son of Dimitar Stanishev, a leader of Communist Bulgaria responsible for external relations, and a Russian mother. He studied at Moscow State University and the London School of Economics.

Having worked several years as a chief for foreign policy relations in the Bulgarian Socialsist Party (BSP), he was elected leader of BSP in 2001, after the former leader Georgi Parvanov won the presidential election in the same year.

As prime minister from 2005 to 2009, he led a coalition government, with the ethnic Turkish Movement of Rights and Freedoms, and the NDSV, a party founded by former King Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Both coalition partners are affiliated to the liberal ALDE group.

Further Reading