Bulgaria's First Non-Communist Political Party
Ecoglasnost began as a social activism group focused on environmental concerns and a general human rights campaign. In March 1989, it became a "political club," officially seeking recognition as a political party in Bulgaria in June 1989. While it was dismissed in its first foray for legitimacy, on 11 December 1989 Ecoglasnost became the first legal political party in Communist Bulgaria other than the Communists. In November 1989, Ecoglasnost had led several peaceful demonstrations against the Communist Party, and on 7 December 1989 Ecoglasnost became one of the founding members of the Union of Democratic Forces that brought together all of the political resistance against the Communist Party. This final recognition from the government was a result of Ecoglasnost's growing influence. This report from the U.S. Embassy in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, reports the positive signs of democratization in Bulgaria occurring with the assistance of the Communist Party.
Sofia Embassy to U.S. Secretary of State, "Ecoglastnost Officially Registered as Legal Organization," 12 December 1989, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).
- On 11 December, the Sofia City Court officially registered Ecoglasnost as a juridical independent organization.
- In so doing, the Court overturned its 23 June refusal to register the organization. The stage for the reversal had been set on 13 November, when the State Prosecutor (Procurator) sided with Ecoglasnost in its appeal to the Supreme Court and returned the case to the City Court for rehearing.
- The decision has received wide coverage in the media, including radio and television and the newspapers Trud and Narodna Mladezh. In its 12 December Edition, Rabotnichesko Delo carries a brief account of the decision by Ecoglasnost Secretary Georgi Avramov.
- Comment - In a meeting with Post PAO [the Embassy's Public Affairs Officer] and Human Rights Officers on 6 December, Ecoglasnost President Petur Slabakov claimed that the organization now had well over 5000 members. In recent weeks, the group has taken its show on the road, with members and officers of the group addressing regional meetings in such cities as Veliko Turnovo, Dimitrovgrad, Stara Zagora, and Bourgas. Dr. Petur Beron, head of the group's "Control Commission," addressed gatherings in ruse during the weekend of 30-31 November. As the organization spreads the word in the provinces, it is certain to enlist members who had been reluctant to join a quasi-legal body.
- In a meeting with the ambassador and DAS [Deputy Assistant Secretary] Curtis Kamman, full Politburo member Audrey Lukanov, in offering evidence that the BCP [Bulgarian Communist Party] was prepared to relinquish its absolute monopoly on political party in the country, had predicted that Ecoglasnost would be registered on 11 December, added that other groups will follow.