On 7 December 1989 the Union of Democratic Forces /UDF/ was founded by the following constituent groups: Club for Glasnost and Democracy, EcoGlasnost, Podkrepa Labour Confederation, Independent Society for the Protection of Human Rights in Bulgaria, Committee for the Protection of Religious Rights, Freedom of Conscience and Spiritual Values, Club for the Illegally Repressed Since 1945, Independent Students' Society, Citizens' Initiative Movement, Bulgarian Workers' Social Democratic Party /united/, Bulgarian Agrarian National Union - Nikola Petkov faction. Later it was joined by the Radical Democratic Party, the Green Party, and the Democratic Party. In its Statutes the UDF defined itself as a national movement of parties, organizations and citizens, whose organization and activities are arranged by agreements. Zhelyu Zhelev was the first elected president of the Co-ordinating Council.
In January - March 1990 the UDF took part in the Round Table negotiations as the opponent of the BCP /Bulgarian Communist Party/. Before the Grand National Assembly elections, on 14 May 1990, the UDF constituent parties and organizations signed a pre-election political agreement. In the 10 June 1990 elections UDF was defeated by the BSP ,with a difference of 16 per cent. The UDF refused to join a coalition government, but Zhelyu Zhelev was elected president of the country. Until December 1990 the UDF was led by Petar Beron, and after his resignation, the leadership was assumed by Philip Dimitrov. On May 15 1991, 39 UDF МРs walked out and went on hunger strike in sign of disagreement with the Draft Constitution. The attitude to the new constitution became a dividing line within the UDF and led to its split. Formed were new coalitions: UDF-centre comprising the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party and the EcoGlasnost Political Club, and UDF-Liberals consisting of the Federations of Clubs of Democracy (renamed Party of Liberals after the elections), the Green Party and the Conservative Accord Democratic Party. A process of splitting and "peeling away" got underway in the individual UDF member parties and political formations.
In the elections for the 36th Regular National Assembly held on 13 October 1991, the UDF won a narrow victory of 1 per cent of the vote and was represented in parliament by 110 deputies. In November 1991 it formed a one-party government with Philip Dimitrov as Prime Minister. This cabinet resigned on 28 November 1992.
On 6 September 1994 a new election agreement was signed by 16 parties - regular members of the UDF and 3 organizations with the status of observers. This accord replaced the September 1991 agreement. In the elections for the 37th National Assembly, held on 18 December 1994, the UDF received 1 260 374 ballots, which account for 24.23 per cent and 69 seats in parliament, while the BSP won 125 seats.
Във връзка с президентските избори през 1997 г. СДС създава коалицията Обединени демократични сили (ОДС), в която освен влизащите в него партии и движения се включват и Демократическата партия на Стефан Савов, Българският земеделски народен съюз и Българската социалдемократическа партия.
In the early parliamentary elections for the 38th National Assembly, held on 19 April 1997, the UDF won, as member of the coalition of the United Democratic Forces /UdDF/, a total of 2 223 371 votes, which represent 52.26 per cent of the vote or 137 parliamentary seats. A cabinet was formed by the UdDF alone, with UdDF and UDF leader Ivan Kostov at the head (оглавявал СДС от 30 април 1995 до 2001).
The key points in the platform of the UDF are: actual decommunization of the country; restitution and privatization of state-owned property; financial and economic stabilization; complete restitution of the land to its former owners on a real boundaries basis; promotion of small and medium-sized business; practical measures preventing impoverishment; anti-corruption and anti-crime action; adoption of a new national security doctrine; independent foreign policy and integration into the EU and NATO; keeping ethnic peace; support of the re-union of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church; development of education, science, and culture; immediate repeal of all recommunization and antidemocratic legislation.
The UDF was given the status of observer party at the meeting of the European People's Party held in December 1997.
Since 5 March 1998, the UDF has become a full member of the European People's Party /EPP/. The resolution was passed on this date during a meeting of the political bureau of the EPP in Brussels.
In March 1997, before the early elections were held, UDF leader Ivan Kostov openly raised the question of transforming the UDF into a party. This idea had existed ever since the union was founded. In early 1998 the UDF leadership worked out a special programme for the transition of the coalition into a party. It was decided that by October 1998 the members of all constituent parties, unions, and organizations in the UDF should re-register as UDF members as well. A National Conference took place in October 1998 and finalized this process. It also .. the strategy and tactic of the UDF in the 1999 local elections. It was decided that the UDF should be organized after the pattern of the West European Christian Democratic parties and become a mass party with a membership of about 80-85 000 people; candidates for members would be required to provide recommendations from two UDF members, who were supposed to guarantee the pure past and the human and professional merits of the candidate.
It may be asserted that in this way, as well as by force of the new law on political parties, the small UDF-affiliated parties and unions would be completely absorbed and would lose their own identity. The large parties within the UDF such as the UCDC, BANU, and SDP decided at their national forums to continue their independent existence, allowing, however, their members to receive a parallel registration as UDF members.
The realization of the idea of transforming the UDF was carried on at a rapid pace under the personal guidance of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, who perceived adherence to it as loyalty to his own person. Through this idea Kostov intended to prevent constant friction and dissension within the coalition on a nation-wide and especially on a regional plane.
Since 1998 the UDF has been a member of the three organizations of the European Centrist and Right-Centrist parties - The European Democratic Union, the European People's Party, and the European Christian Democratic Union. UDF's representative in the EDU Foreign Affairs Commission is Assen Agov; Maria Spasova, MP from the Sofia Constituency ticket, was nominated as representative in the Commission for Economic and Social Policy.
The flag of the UDF is blue. Its party organ was the Demokratsiya daily. In 1996 Demokratsiya became a national daily newspaper. Later on, it stopped being published for several years. It was re-established as a weekly in 2006. Finally, the publication ceased its existence.
Governing bodies: National Conference and National Co-ordinating Council.
At first, UDF participated in elections with a single ballot and was represented in parliament by a single parliamentary group.
During the elections, difficult and complicated were relations with the coalition partners from the IMRO and the People's Union. Wherever the UdDF-plus formula was active, the UDF achieved a victory.
The changes in the party's policy, tactics, and selection of cadres that took place at the February 2000 National Conference were only minor.
Като политическа формация СДС първоначално си поставя задачата да се бори за демокрация в страната: създаване на ново трудово и социално законодателство, изработване на нова конституция, деполитизация на армията и милицията, пълна автономия на висшите учебни заведения, самоуправление на научноизследователските институти и художествено-творческите обединения, свобода на словото, печата, събранията и сдруженията и т.н. Постигнала тези цели, коалицията се обръща и към решаването на икономическите въпроси. По време на управлението си в периода 1991-1992 г. СДС се заема с раздържавяването на икономиката и въвеждането на принципите на пазарното стопанство. По време на второто си идване на власт СДС се захваща с решаването на такива важни външнополитически въпроси като ориентирането на България към европейските и евроатлантическите структури.
От основаването си до 1995 г. СДС често мени състава си - някои от партиите отпадат, други биват изключвани и понякога отново приемани обратно в коалицията. Заедно с това повечето от партиите и движенията в СДС също се цепят - БЗНС "Н. Петков", Демократическата партия, Обединеният демократичен център, Радикалдемократическата партия, Движението за гражданска инициатива, Християндемократическият съюз. Така възникват нови политически формации със сходни имена.
Съгласно подписаното на 6 септември 1994 г. споразумение между партиите и движенията в СДС членове на коалицията остават:
- Български демократичен форум - Дянко Марков;
- Земеделски демократичен съюз - Владислав Костов;
- Движение "Гражданска инициатива" - СДС - Захари Кръстев, Лорета Николова, Станислав Икономов;
- Консервативна и екологична партия - Светлана Дянкова;
- Национален клуб за демокрация - Светослав Лучников;
- Национално движение "Екогласност" - Едвин Сугарев;
- Нова Социалдемократическа партия - Васил Михайлов;
- Обединен християндемократичен център - Екатерина Михайлова;
- Радикалдемократическа партия - Александър Йорданов;
- Републиканска партия - Ленко Русанов;
- Социалдемократическа партия - Иван Куртев;
- Съюз на репресираните в България след 9 септември 1944 година - Иван Станчев;
- Федерация на независимите студентски дружества - Пламен Панайотов;
- Християндемократически съюз в българия - Асен Агов;
- Демократическа партия 1896 г. - Стоян Райчевски;
- Независимо дружество за защита правата на човека в България - политически клуб - Стефан Вълков;
- Съюз на безпартийните - Боян Велков.
UDF took part in all the parliamentary, presidential and local elections that have taken place since 1990.
In 1991 they won an insignificant majority and formed their first cabinet.
They came to power for a second time in 1997 and the Kostov cabinet stayed in power until June 2001.
The party's performance in the October 1999 municipal elections was seen by the UDF leadership as unsatisfactory. In the pre-election period, it had been declared that the party would win between 50 and 70 per cent of the municipalities. In reality, UDF won 85 of all 262 municipalities. UDF won 11 of the regional centres, being defeated in large cities such as Varna, Bourgas, and Rousse. Leader Ivan Kostov described the Party's conduct in the election campaign as "haughty and arrogant". UDF highly overrated its own capacities and did not judge adequately the changes in the electors' sentiments. As compared to the 1995 local elections, when UDF won only 17 municipalities, the UDF achieved a serious success in the 1997 municipal elections. As compared with the 1997 parliamentary elections, however, the UdDF coalition (in which the UDF was the founding force) lost some 1 million ballots obtaining about 30 per cent of the vote, and that was a serious decline.
Губи последователно местните избори през 2000 г., парламентарните и президентските избори през 2001 г. и 2006 г.
In the years, UDF leaders were also Nadezhda Mikhailova, (2003-2005), Petar Stoyanov (November 2005-2007), Plamen Yurukov (December 2007 - December 2008) and Martin Dimitrov (December 2008 - ).
Youth Union of Democratic Forces /YUDF/
On 1 March 1993 a Youth Union of Democratic Forces was founded under the UDF.
The constitutive conference of the Youth Union of Democratic Forces was held on 3-4 April 1999. Velislav Velichkov, UDF MP, was elected President, and his colleague from the Blue parliamentary group, Viktoria Vassileva became Secretary.
At the opening of the forum Prime Minister and UDF leader Ivan Kostov declared that the youth organization was meant to fulfil the key task of generating municipal councillors and mayors.
The Statute provides that the age limit for membership in the organization is 33 years. Expelled from the Youth Union shall be anyone who violates the UDF Statute by working against the party, supporting other political formations, or abusing party funds or property. YUDF members shall be also UDF members.
UDF-AFFILIATED PARTIES, ORGANIZATIONS AND UNIONS
UDF-Affiliated Bulgarian Agrarian National Union - Nikola Petkov faction /BANU Nikola Petkov within the UDF/
The UDF-affiliated Bulgarian Agrarian National Union - Nikola Petkov faction was founded on 21 December 1991 following BANU's 27th Congress. It united all those members who were dissatisfied with the election defeat of BANU-Nikola Petkov. On 29 March 1992, the 2nd National Conference of the BANU-Nikola Petkov movement within the UDF was declared its 1st Congress. Adopted were a Programme, and Statute /amended during the 3rd Congress/, elected were governing bodies. Formulated were the tactical and ideological differences with the United Agrarian Union. According to the newly adopted Programme, the new Agrarian Union was defined as a Right Centrist political formation defending the interests of middle-class owners and of all Bulgarian citizens who adopt the political and economic programme of the Union, together with the rest of the political formations within the UDF coalition. In April 1992 the UDF-affiliated BANU-Nikola Petkov was admitted to full membership in the UDF. On 6 September 1994 the president of the Union, Gheorghi Petrov, signed the Political Agreement of the parties and organizations within the UDF providing for joint participation in the elections that were to follow. The National Council confirmed the signature of its leader on 22 October 1994. In early November 1994, disappointed with the lists of candidates, Gheorghi Petrov left the coalition and the leadership of the Union was assumed by Vladislav Kostov. In the April 1997 parliamentary elections, the UDF-affiliated BANU-Nikola Petkov signed a political agreement and participated in the elections as a member of the UDF coalition.
In early June 1998 BANU-Nikola Petkov within the UDF was renamed United Agrarian Forces - G.M. Dimitrov and Gheorghi Petrov was elected its president again.
The Union's colours are green and blue. The symbol is a green four-leaved clover with orange contours.
The flag is made of green fabric with an orange-contoured clove in the upper left corner and a horizontal blue stripe in the lower part.
Governing bodies: Congress, National Council, Executive Council, and National Controlling Committee.
In the October 1999 municipal elections BANU-Nikola Petkov obtained :
In the vote for municipal councillors,
Outside coalitions - 10 369 ballots, 11 seats, 0.32 % of the vote
In coalitions - 24 786 ballots, 35 seats, 0.76% of the vote.
In the mayoral vote,
Outside coalitions - 2 472 ballots, 0 seats, 0.04% of the vote.
In coalitions - 37 697 ballots, 0 seats, 0.67% of the vote.
In the vote for village mayors,
In coalitions - 16 477 ballots, 7 seats, 0.95% of the vote.
The Bulgarian Democratic Forum /BDF/ was formed at the initiative of the Bulgarian National Legions. It was founded on 13 January 1990. BDF is the founder of the Freedom Coalition for the Turnovo Constitution.
UDF member, with an observer status, from 18 February 1991, full member since 9 September 1991. In the elections for the 36th National Assembly the BDF was given four seats. Its MPs were later joined by 3 independent deputies and the overall number grew up to 7.
The BDF declared itself to be a new, Democratic- Wing party based on the principles of Liberalism and the Turnovo Constitution.
It defines itself as a nationalistic organization, which has never given up Bulgaria's national ideals, but seeks their realization through peaceful means within the framework of the UN principles and the provisions of the Helsinki agreements. BDF opposes the Macedonianist national doctrine and the Turkicization of the population of Bulgarian ethnic identity. It stands out for the rescission of the present Constitution, seen by the BDF as "reactionary", and for the restoration of the Turnovo Constitution, for the annulment the law-decree which instituted the People's Court, as well as the repeal of 1946 Referendum and all other repressive, in BDF's view, legislation.
Party organ: the Prelom newspaper. BDF has its youth organization.
Governing bodies: National Supreme Council, National Leadership.
President of the BDF from its establishment up to 1997 was Vassil Zlatarov.
September 1998 - BDF's vice-president Lyubomir Dimitrov became co-president of the Forum together with Mouravei Radev.
Dyanko Markov resigned as leader of the BDF.
At the meeting on 23 September 1998, the Forum decided to keep its status of a UDF-affiliated organization.
The Democratic Party - 1896 /DP-1896/ was established at a Conference of the Democratic Party held on 10 September 1994 in Sofia by members discontentedwith the leadership of the DP and with the party's leader, Stefan Savov, himself.
The newly established party considers itself to be the true successor of the old Democratic Party led by Petko Karavelov. DP-1896 declared its loyalty to the UDF and on 18 October 1994 it was admitted to full membership in the UDF.
In the parliamentary elections held in December 1994 and April 1997, respectively, it was included in the UDF list. President of the party from its foundation till May 1998 was Stoyan Raichevski.
During the supreme forum of the party, which took place in May 1998, Valentin Vassilev, then Minister of Commerce in the Kostov cabinet, was elected party leader. On the same day, another parallel congress was held with the participation of 21 party members, who re-elected Stoyan Raichevski president of the party. After the split, both parties declared that they would remain affiliated to the UDF.
The EcoGlasnost National Movement /EcoGlasnost NM/ was constituted on 15 June 1991 during the 3rd Conference of the EcoGlasnost associations. It declared itself to be the successor of the first independent EcoGlasnost club founded on 11 April 1989, which, on its part, succeeded the Committee for Environmental Protection of the city of Rousse, and was officially registered on 12 December 1989. Initially, the EcoGlasnost NM was constituted as a non-governmental, non-party organization seeking to make analyses of and work out programmes for environmental issues. Members of EcoGlasnost were elected deputies to the Grand National Assembly from the UDF list. After the split in EcoGlasnost, part of the membership formed a political party, the UDF EcoGlasnost Movement and participated in the elections held on 13 October 1991 as a UDF member organization.
On 6 March 1993 the EcoGlasnost NM adopted a Programme Declaration in which its political goals were defined as: full publicity in the sphere of environment, declassifying all confidential data directly or indirectly related with human health and living environment conditions, publicity as to demagogy, falsifications and egoism in politics and social life, etc. It insisted on a revision of the Constitution, on a radical decommunization of public life, on accountability for the country's economic, political, and moral collapse.
EcoGlasnost has been built as a single organization with a centralized leadership and vertical structure.
Governing bodies: National Conference, Guiding Committee.
Until 1997 its president was Edvin Sougarev.
In 1997 leader of the party became Ivan Soungarski.
The Conservative Ecological Party /CEP/ was founded on 1 March 1992 in Sofia. It was registered on 22 April 1992 in accordance with the Law on Political Parties. Most of its membership are former Green Party members who joined CEP after the GP had split. From its beginning, CEP is a full member of the UDF. In October 1993, at the 2nd Congress held in Shoumen, it adopted the name CEP. CEP has a non-standard party structure. It is governed by collective bodies called chambers. Beside the Congress, there are the National Chamber, as well as Political, Ecological, and Controlling Chambers. Each chamber has its own president. In October 1993 Hristo Bisserov was elected CEP's leader.
In the parliamentary elections held in 1994 and 1997, CEP participated with a joint list with the UDF, and CEP members have been part of UDF's parliamentary group.
Hristo Bisserov's successor to the post of CEP's president became Svetlana Dyankova, deputy to the 37th and 38th National Assemblies, member of the National Executive Council of the UDF since February 2000. Re-elected president of the party in July 2000.
The National Club for Democracy /NCD/ is related to the Club for Glasnost and Restructuring founded on 3 November 1988, Club for Glasnost and Democracy from 1 December 1989. In 1990 the latter grew into a Federation of Clubs for Glasnost and Democracy /FCGD/ with Petko Simeonov as its leader. On 11 November 1992 a group of FCGD clubs called a National Conference, named themselves a National Club for Democracy, and elected Yordan Vassilev its leader . The original FCGD continued its existence outside the UDF and its initial registration was confirmed by the court.
NCD defines itself as an independent voluntary organization with a prevailing membership of intellectuals. NCD seeks to attain a thorough and unconditional decommunization of public life, the establishment of a democratic model of development of the country, a modern market-oriented economy based predominantly on private ownership.
NCD functions in the form of club units. It has and Academic Club, a Lawyers' Club, a Doctors' Club, a Teachers' Club, etc. The Monarchists Club is a collective member of the party.
The Club's symbol is a blue rectangular with the NCD initials inscribed within.
Governing body: National Club Council.
Since January 1993 NCD has been presided by Svetoslav Louchnikov.
The New Social Democratic Party /NSDP/ was established on 9 January 1990. It is the successor of the Social Democratic Club founded on 30 November 1989. On 24 June 1990 NSDP's then president Petar Markov declared the party disbanded and joining the BSDP, a step which was not accepted by the majority of the membership. On 7 July 1990 an Extraordinary National Conference of the NSDP was held during which P. Markov was expelled and a new Co-ordinating Committee was elected with Dr. Vassil Mikhailov at the head. Later the NSDP was joined by the Programme Alternative Club, an ideological trend within the BSDP.
In its programme documents, the NSDP declares that it disagrees with the ambition of contemporary Social Democracy to bind itself to the idea of some Socialist model of socioeconomic development. Social Democracy is seen as Social Liberalism guaranteeing economic freedom and a differentiated approach in social protection.
NSDP's governing body is the National Co-ordinating Council.
Since its formation, NSDP has been a loyal member of the UDF and its representatives have been elected from the UDF list in the Grand National Assembly, the 36th, 37th, and 38th National Assemblies.
At the Conference of the NSDP which took place on 12 December 1998 in Pleven, elected leader became 42 years old
Krassimir Pouhtev, who stood at the head of those members of the Political Council of the NSDP that had split from it in 1996. The Conference was called by 9 out of 15 members of the then operating Political Council. The two rival wings proclaimed the end of their legal disputes over legitimacy and unified.
According to the newly adopted Statute, the New SDP allows its members to concurrently join the UDF. The party plans to reform its structures and seek partnership with the Yordan Nihrizov-led BSDP. It backs the Kostov government and is for coalition with the UdDF.
In January 2000 SDP held its 43th Regular Congress, which elected its leader Alexander Marinov, deputy from the Vidin Constituency ticket.
The Social Democratic Party /SDP/ was founded on 28 March 1992 in Varna. It declares itself to be a Right Social Democratic party. Since its early days it has been a loyal member of the UDF. It has had deputies elected to the 36th, 37th, and 38th National Assemblies from the UDF. SDP leader Ivan Kourtev is Deputy Chair of the 38th National Assembly.
Symbols: circle in which three white arrows are represented against dark blue background, symbolizing the three principles of the Socialist International.
Party Patron's Day - St. Elijah's Day.
Governing bodies: Congress, National Committee, Executive Bureau, Control and Supervision Committee.
Ivan Kourtev has been party leader ever since SDP was founded.
The United Christian Democratic Centre /UCDC/ was founded on 21 April 1990 under the name of United Democratic Centre. A staunch member of the UDF. UCDC had representatives in the Grand National Assembly and the 36th National Assembly. The party follows a Right Centrist ideology with a Christian Democratic and Christian Social orientation.
Since 1 November 1992 it has been member of the European Democratic Union.
At its 3rd National Forum held in Pleven on 17-18 October 1992 it adopted the name of United Christian Democratic Centre.
Stoyan Ganev was leader of the party until the 4th National Forum held on 15-16 May 1993 in Plovdiv, when Stefan Sofiyanski was elected president of the UCDC. Stoyan Ganev's supporters left the UCDC and formed the Democratic Centre Party.
UCDC has been a loyal UDF member and has won seats from the UDF in the 37th and 38th National Assemblies.
Ekaterina Mikhailova, UCDC vice-president, is leader of the UdDf parliamentary group in the 38th National Assembly.
In 1996, UCDC leader Stefan Sofiyanski was elected Mayor of Sofia, and in March - May 1997 he headed the caretaker cabinet.
In the Kostov-led UdDF government, which stepped in office after the April 1997 election, Alexander Bozhkov, UCDC member, was deputy prime minister and minister of Industry until the cabinet shuffle in December 1999.
The Radical Democratic Party /RDP/ was founded in 1902 by Todor Vlaikov and Naicho Tsanov. It was re-established on 4 December 1989. During its Congress held on 14-15 July 1990 in Sofia, RDP adopted a Statute and a Programme, which was updated in 1993.
The renewed RDP was headed first by Prof. Elka Konstantinova.
In its programme documents the RDP declares itself to be for an open civil society following the Liberal model. It defends the absolute political equality right which places public interests above private ones. RDP has been a regular member of the UDF and has been represented in the Grand National Assembly, the 36th, 37th, and 38th NAs from the UDF list.
The RDP MPs walked out of the Grand National Assembly and did not sign the GNA-drafted Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.
A Young Radical Democratic Federation has been formed with the RDP.
In September 1991 RDP was admitted to the Liberal International with an observer status, and in 1994 it joined the LI as full member.
At the 25th Congress of the RDP which took place on 19-20 June 1993 in Sofia, Alexander Yordanov was elected party leader. He occupied also the post of parliamentary chair of the 36th National Assembly.
Party organ of the RDP: Vek 21 weekly with Alexander Yordanov as editor-in-chief.
Party festival: 24 May
Governing bodies: Congress, National Conference, National Party Council, NPC Executive Committee, Inspecting Committee.
The Republican Party /RP/ was established on 3 February 1990.
Since 18 February 1992 it has been full member of the UDF. The RP declares itself to be a successor of the ideas of the National Revival. It stands for man's freedom and independence to be achieved solely on the basis of private ownership.
Governing bodies: National Committee, Chair
Party leader: Lenko Roussanov.
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