About the Author
Zhelyu Zhelev was president of Bulgaria from 1990 to 1997. The first democratically elected chief executive in his country’s history, Dr. Zhelev was formerly a research fellow at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 1989, he chaired the Union of Democratic Forces, taking part in the roundtable talks that led to free parliamentary elections in 1990. The present essay is a revised version of a speech delivered at a meeting of the Liberal International in Berlin on 3 October 1995.