Първичните избори от 1 юни 1996 г.: д-р Желю Желев срещу Петър Стоянов


Асен Тютюнджиев

Резюме:

The article examines the primary election within the democratic community in Bulgaria on 1 June 1996 that aimed to nominate a united opposition candidate for the forthcoming presidential election in the autumn of that year. Bulgaria became the first country outside the USA to have adopted such a procedure which had the purpose to avoid the split of the right vote. Then Bulgaria was in dire straits – the socialist government headed by Zhan Videnov seemed to be unable to overcome the hardships that faced the country suffering the most severe economic and financial crisis in its recent history. The majority of the Bulgarians lived in poverty and only a few months later their discontent escalated and the country was on the verge of a civil war. The democratic opposition was in dilemma as it was divided between the incumbent President Dr Zhelyu Zhelev, supported by the People’s Union coalition (PU), made up of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BANU) and the Democratic Party (DP) on the one hand, and the candidate of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) Petar Stoyanov. The latter was a young lawyer, MP and UDF deputy chair who was not very famous by that time but was able to win the popular vote with his energy and charisma. The author of the article thinks that Zhelyu Zhelev made a serious mistake by participating in the primary election since he relied on his popularity from the past as a dissident and an emblematic figure of the Bulgarian transition period to democracy. He underestimated the UDF which was the biggest and strongest opposition organization having enormous resources and structures in the whole country. For Dr Zhelev the loss of the election meant an end of his political career while his opponent won the presidential election in November against the candidate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). For the UDF, headed by Ivan Kostov, the victory in the presidential election was a stepping-stone for the seizure of political power after the parliamentary election in April 1997.

Ключови думи:

Zhelyu Zhelev, Petar Stoyanov, primary election, Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), economic crisis.

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