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Bulgaria: Lukanov Ally Says Formal Split Inevitable For Socialists

Sofia, 31 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- A member of Bulgaria's Socialist Party said today that a formal party split is inevitable because of the poor showing of the Socialist candidate in last Sunday's first round presidential vote.

Andrei Raichev, a leading member of a Socialist Party wing called the "Union for Social Democracy," says the process of dividing the party would begin after Sunday's second round of voting. A Socialist coalition now controls 125 of Bulgaria's 240-seat parliament. Analysts say a formal division of the party could lead to the ouster of Socialist Prime Minister Zhan Videnov.

Raichev said today that it is impossible for the party's different parts to exist together any longer. Raichev had been a political ally and close friend of Andrei Lukanov, the former Prime Minister who was assassinated in front of his Sofia home a month ago. Lukanov was Videnov's biggest critic among the former Communists in the Socialist Party.

In other developments, the candidate who finished third in last Sunday's ballot, George Ganchev of the so-called Bulgarian Business Bloc, said he would support neither Socialist candidate Ivan Marazov nor opposition candidate Petar Stoyanov. About 44 percent of voters last week supported Stoyanov compared to about 27 percent for Marazov, while Ganchev gathered 22 percent of the vote. rs/or