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Bulgarian Socialist Says He'll Run for President Despite Court Ruling

Sofia, July 25 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski said today that he will stay on as the Socialist Party's candidate for president in elections this fall despite a Constitutional Court ruling that would bar him from office. There are no legal obstacles to Pirinski's candidacy. But the Constitutional Court ruled two days ago that Pirinski was not born a Bulgarian citizen--a prerequisite for taking presidential office.

Pirinski said the court overstepped its authority. His party of former communists, which decided to back him last night after an all-night session, alleges that the court decision was politically motivated.

If Pirinski wins the Oct. 27 ballot, the Socialists would likely ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Constitutional Court ruling.

Correspondents say whatever the result of the election, legal battles are likely to lead to further estrangement between the Socialists and the opposition Union of Democratic Forces, leaving little time to deal with the country's rapidly deteriorating economy.

Pirinski, the son of a Bulgarian political emigre, was born in the United States in 1948 and kept his U.S. citizenship until 1974.