National Union Attack


National Union Attack
National Union Attack
Национален съюз Атака
Leader Volen Siderov
Founded 2005
Headquarters Sofia
Ideology Bulgarian nationalism
Anti-globalization
Statism
Euroscepticism
Left-wing populism
Political position Far right[1]
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament Group Non-inscrits*
Official colours dark green (official); white, green, red (national colours, non-official)
National Assembly
21 / 240
European Parliament
2 / 17
Website
http://www.ataka.bg/
Politics of Bulgaria
Political parties
Elections
*Formerly part of Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty (2007).

The National Union Attack (Bulgarian: Национален съюз Атака, Natsionalen sayuz "Ataka") is a nationalist political party in Bulgaria. At the last legislative elections, 5 July 2009, it won 9.4% of the popular vote and 21 out of 240 seats. In the 2009 European Parliament elections Attack won 12.0% of the vote, giving them two seats in the European Parliament.

National Union Attack was formed by the National Movement for the Salvation of the Fatherland (Natsionalno Dvizhenie za Spasenie na Otechestvoto), the Bulgarian National Patriotic Party (Bǎlgarska Natsionalna-Patriotichna Partiya) and the Union of Patriotic Forces and Militaries of the Reserve Defense (Sǎyuz na Patriotichnite Sili i Voinite ot Zapassa - Zashtita). Led by TV host Volen Siderov, the coalition was created just two months before the elections. Siderov first created a party with that name, but its registration was delayed by the court so it could not participate in the elections by itself.

The coalition's leaders have criticized Bulgaria's ethnic minorities[citation needed] for allegedly being too privileged, they have accused the entire Bulgarian political establishment of being corrupt, and are opposed to NATO, the Iraq War and closer ties with the USA. Although the coalition is not particularly against Bulgaria's European Union membership, it has strongly demanded a revision of some of the previous agreements (e.g. the resolution on shutting down the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant near the Danube).

The sudden success of Attack has been attributed as the main cause of the poor performance (31%) of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, in the 2005 election.[citation needed] Prominent figures in the Union Attack have included Ognyan Saparev, Rumen Vodenicharov and Stella Bankova (who left the party in 2006).

Contents

Controversy

The party has been subjected to much criticism in the media. This has included allegations that it is a xenophobic, anti-European and fascist movement, although its supporters prefer to define it as patriotic. Some of these allegations are better founded than others: for example the party's platform does not strictly include the fascist characteristics[citation needed]. Regardless, its members tend towards inflammatory comments that often lead to them being sidelined by other parties and criticized both at home and abroad.

A scandal was caused in 2006 by Attack's observer at the European Parliament Dimitar Stoyanov (who is also Volen Siderov's stepson). Stoyanov sent an email to all MEPs that appeared to belittle Roma women. The email said of Hungarian politician Lívia Járóka, "In my country there are tens of thousands of Gypsy girls way more pretty than this honorable one... you may even buy one, around 12-13 years, to be your loving wife."[2].

Apologists later claimed the e-mail was not intended to spark a public relations nightmare. Instead, they claimed its purpose[citation needed] was to highlight the fact that young girls of Roma origin can be literally bought like cattle, despite the fact that this is a heavy crime which clearly violates Human Rights Legislation.[citation needed]

Another problematic incident occurred earlier in 2006 on the Trakia highway, where a car accident and a subsequent clash resulted in party leader Volen Siderov being charged with hooliganism, perjury and obstruction of justice.[3] In 2008 Volen Siderov was acquitted on all charges.[4]

Ideology

The party's two program documents, the '20 Principles' and the 'Program Scheme' feature a number of nationalistic characteristics. They define Bulgaria as a one-nation state and assert the supremacy of the state and the 'Bulgarian nation' above ethnic and religious diversity, but at the same time want to have an official religion and participation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in legislative work and in all important government decisions, as well as teaching of the Church's doctrine in primary school[citation needed]. The '20 Principles' envisage formulating a crime of 'national betrayal' and criminal prosecution of the 'national traitors'. Attack has so far called most of the present-day politicians, human rights and minority rights activists 'national traitors'. The '20 Principles' also envisage sanctions for defamation of the 'Bulgarian national sacraments' and for 'slurs' against Bulgaria. Anti-establishment and anti-Western slogans have been traditionally associated with the left in Bulgaria, and Attack is nearly universally understood as a far-right party, whether in media coverage, political platform, or allies in the European parliament[5]. Attack members themselves have said that the movement is 'neither left, nor right but Bulgarian'.

Their policies have in particular included hard lines against immigration and Muslim minorities. In Bulgaria, all other parliamentary parties have stated that they would not form a coalition with Attack, since they see it as a xenophobic group and a threat to Bulgarian ethnic minorities.[citation needed] Nevertheless the party managed to push through some of its policies after two years of support for the minority cabinet of PM Boyko Borisov.

Political activity

Attack rally in the center of Sofia on March 3rd, National Liberation Day of Bulgaria

Opinion survey results from March 2006[citation needed] showed a significant increase in support for Attack. It ranked second after the BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party) and ahead of the former ruling party NDSV (National Movement for Simeon II) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. On March 3, 2006, party leader Siderov called for a meeting to be held in Sofia, and around 30,000 people came to hear speeches by him and other members of the party. During this rally Siderov declared "Bulgaria is not yet free. Bulgaria is still under Turkish rule". Party speakers protested against the ruling government in Bulgaria for forming an alliance with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and allegedly ignoring ethnic Bulgarian interests. Earlier in 2006, Siderov organized a petition against a decision by the Bulgarian government to set up US military bases in Bulgaria. In October, he came second in the first round of the 2006 presidential election, but lost in the second round after receiving around a quarter of the vote.

On March 3, 2009 Ataka organized a rally, attended by about 10,000, to celebrate the liberation of Bulgaria from "500 years of enslavement by the Ottomans". Some traditional political formations in Bulgaria have avoided contact and debate with the party - the party claim this is because "[they have] been scared from being involved in any debates with Ataka, as they know they would never win". SKAT TV - a broadcaster broadly sympathetic to the party's view - have been subject to deletion from some cable TV providers in Bulgaria. Ataka claims this is a "pre-election trick by the government, in order to silence one of its main competitors in the election"; however, independent sources cite consumer complaints and hate speech as the reasons for the channel being dropped by some providers[6].

In the European Parliament elections of June 7, 2009, the party's share was 12%. This placed them in fourth place, behind the ascending Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, the governing Coalition for Bulgaria and the pro-minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms. This gives them two European Parliament seats out of Bulgaria's 17[7].

Election results

National Assembly

National Assembly of Bulgaria
Election # of seats won # of total votes  % of popular vote
2005 21 296,848 8.1%
2009 21 395,733 9.4%

Presidental

President of Bulgaria
Election # of total votes (1st round)  % of popular vote (1st round) # of total votes (2nd round)  % of popular vote (2nd round)
2006 597,175 21.5% 649,387 24.1%
2011 122,466 3.7%

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election # of seats won # of total votes  % of popular vote
2007 3 275,237 14.2%
2009 2 308,052 12.0%

References

External links


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