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Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Ex-king to unveil political plans
Former King Simeon II
The former king is expected to unveil his political intentions
The exiled former king of Bulgaria, who arrived home on Thursday, has been given a warm reception by his supporters in the capital Sofia.


All the thousands of people who are looking for a way to vote for Simeon, they will be able to do so

Former King Simeon II
Ex-King Simeon II, now a Madrid-based businessman, is expected to unveil his political intentions ahead of Bulgaria's legislative elections in June.

"You will hear on Friday. It will be interesting," he pledged to his supporters at the airport but he refused to say whether or not he was planning on putting forward an opposition movement.

The former king has captured the public imagination since announcing in February that he would seek a political role.

But the constitutional court has banned him from contesting presidential elections later this year, leaving him legislative polls as the only alternative.

New political party

Shortly after the verdict against him running for presidency had been passed, the former king assured "all the thousands of people who are looking for a way to vote for Simeon, they will be able to do so".

Ivan Kostov
Mr Kostov's critics formed a new political party
Meanwhile, dissenters from the ruling centre-right coalition announced they were forming a new political party to support his bid to enter Bulgarian politics.

At the core of the new party, known as the Conservative Union (EKIP), are eight critics of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, who have now resigned from his party, the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF).

"EKIP fully supports the stated will of His Majesty King Simeon II to take part in the Bulgarian political life", the party said in a statement.

"EKIP unconditionally supports His Majesty," it added.

The new party issued a memorandum saying it would seek a broad coalition after elections due on June 17.

Analysts say it may attract about 15% of the vote, mostly from disenchanted UDF supporters.

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See also:

15 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Bulgaria
15 Jan 01 | Europe
Timeline: Bulgaria
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