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Ahmed Dogan re-elected leader of MRF amid resignation rumours January 5, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria, Turkey, Turkish minority of Bularia.
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Ahmed Dogan re-elected leader of MRF amid resignation rumours

The leader of Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party, Ahmed Dogan, has been re-elected unanimously as the party’s leader.

Dogan, who was also celebrating the 20th anniversary of his own leadership of the party, won the support of all 769 delegates who attended the national conference.

The re-election of the party’s 55-year-old leader on December 13 2009 came after Dogan had hinted the previous day that he could resign as leader. Speaking at the conference, Dogan had said “there comes a time for separation of a parent from their baby. I know that you are not ready for this inevitable act, but this should happen”.

Dogan said that the MRF should not become merely a party revolving around the permanent leadership of one individual. He also described the socialist-led tripartite former government, in which the MRF formed a crucial part, as “the most successful government” in Bulgaria since the fall of communism.

Dogan, always a controversial figure in Bulgarian politics because of his influence and alleged business interests, continues to attract adulation and criticism in equal measure, but seldom indifference. In a 2006 interview he declared that all political parties had “circles of companies”. He has also described vote-buying as a “European phenomenon” and said he was “the instrument of power” in Bulgaria.

In 2001 Dogan had two ministers in the government of former prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg who led the National Movement for Stability and Progress (NMSP). After former prime minister Sergei Stanishev won the 2005 parliamentary elections, Dogan joined a tripartite government alongside the largest party – Stanishev’s Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) – and Saxe-Coburg’s NMSP.

Although the MRF was ousted from power in the July 2009 elections by Boiko Borissov’s Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), it also garnered its biggest ever support, winning more than 600 000 votes.

Speaking at his party’s conference, Dogan also urged the European Union to embrace Turkey’s EU accession. “The attitudes of EU countries to the inclusion of Turkey into the Union are straining the basic value system of Europe and, especially, the historical foundations of European identity and tolerance,” he said.

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