A meeting of Bulgaria’s Cabinet that had been scheduled for February 27 2013 has been postponed by a day because of the health problems of acting prime minister Boiko Borissov, who was admitted to hospital in Sofia on February 26 with high blood pressure.
This meeting is seen as being likely to be the last scheduled meeting pending the appointment of a caretaker cabinet after the resignation of Borissov’s government in response to nationwide protests.
On February 26, local media quoted Borissov as saying that he had been diagnosed with ischemic heart disease two years ago and had been advised to avoid going to the sauna and to limit his sports activities.
A meeting that was to have been held on February 27 between the new Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Neofit, and Borissov also was cancelled.
The Cabinet meeting is now scheduled to be held at 10am on Thursday, the same time that President Rossen Plevneliev is scheduled to address Parliament, an event that is to be broadcast live on a number of television and radio stations in Bulgaria.
Borissov’s health problems have compounded an already dramatic situation in Bulgaria’s political and social crisis as protests continue. He was absent from the February 26 special meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security called to discuss the risks to the country because of the crisis.
In a pattern seen before, protests by mainstream groups passed peacefully if with a low turnout on the evening of February 26, but in Sofia there was a violent incident when a motorist attempted to run a blockade by a group of youths at Eagle Bridge.
One man was seen carried on the bonnet of the car, before falling on to the street, which was followed by a scuffle between the people in the car and people who had been among the crowd of protesters. Twenty-five people were arrested, police said.
Bulgarian media also reported that on February 26, an incident of self-immolation took place, as a man in Radnevo became the third in a week to self himself on fire. The man, who had doused himself in fuel, lit a match to become a human torch in the entrance area of the local municipal building. He was admitted to hospital with 70 per cent burns. Previous incidents of self-immolation took place in Veliko Turnovo on February 19 and Varna on February 20.
Meanwhile, on February 27, the ritual process of the President offering mandates to form a government to the three largest parties in the current Parliament was to continue. Borissov’s GERB party turned out the mandate, as it had said it would do, on February 25.
At 2pm on February 27, the mandate was to be offered to the second-largest party in Parliament, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which has confirmed it would return it. The mandate will be offered to the third-largest party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, on March 1. After the MRF returns the mandate, as it has said it will do, the way will be open for the next steps by President Plevneliev towards the formation of a caretaker government.