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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Bulgarian Nationalists Launch Attack on Power Utilities

Bulgaria's far-right nationalist Ataka party asked Tuesday Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to dismiss the head of the energy watchdog, Angel Semerdzhiev, over the looming hike in electric power prices.

The move comes in the aftermath of reports the three power utilities in the country – Czech CEZ, Austrian EVN, and German E.ON are requesting between 5% and 15% increase of prices after July 1, 2011.

Ataka leader, Volen Siderov, says Smerdzhiev, who is the Chair of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR), must go if the price hike materializes and is adamant the contracts with the power utilities must be annulled and "electric power must become a Bulgarian matter."

The nationalists demand for DKEVR to keep the price at the current level.

Siderov further accused the right-wing Member of the Parliament, Rosen Yordanov, in conflict of interests, claiming CEZ has financed his election campaign and through him, the campaign of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) party.

UDF leader, Martin Dimitrov, retaliated by calling Siderov a liar, saying Yordanov is a mid-level employee of CEZ; the company had never funded his campaign and all document related to the campaign have been submitted with the National Audit Office.

Dimitrov also accused the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party of using Siderov as their "loudspeaker," when matters become unpleasant, and asked GERB to never again send their "servant" to them.

CEZ also reacted to the nationalist leader's attack by distributing a letter to the media, firmly denying any involvement in political activities and parties' financing.