Bulgarian PM Raykov comments on ‘consensus’ about bashing caretaker government

For the first time, Bulgaria’s political elite has achieved consensus about something – bashing the caretaker cabinet, Prime Minister Marin Raykov said on March 29 2013 in a television interview.

He said that when his caretaker administration had been in place for three days, already a political party leader had begun evaluating its work. “For me, that’s in poor taste,” Raykov told bTV.

Raykov’s administration has had pressure and criticism from various quarters.

At the cabinet’s first two meetings, ultra-nationalist Ataka party leader Volen Siderov made a show of trying to enter the caretaker cabinet meeting, on both occasions being barred by security. Siderov has claimed that in the absence of a parliament, he was trying to exercise “citizens’ control” over the interim administration.

On March 28, Raykov made reference to Siderov, who earlier declined to turn up to political consultations scheduled by the Prime Minister’s office. Raykov said that he could not understand why a political party leader felt the need to address him through a megaphone.

Criticism of the Raykov cabinet came from former regional development and public works minister Liliyana Pavlova after the cabinet said on March 28 that it would spend about 41 million leva in state aid to “the most vulnerable social groups”. The money would be paid using employment and household payment schemes and was being reallocated from infrastructure projects.

Pavlova, who during the Boiko Borissov administration inherited the cabinet portfolio from Rossen Plevneliev when he resigned to stand in the presidential elections and who was a frequent sight at inspections and openings of sections of highways, criticised what she called the caretaker cabinet’s “populism” in reallocating money for one-off social assistance, away from infrastructure. Not only would the reallocation of funds damage job creation, it would mean the loss of existing jobs on infrastructure projects, according to Pavlova.

Speaking to btV on March 29, Raykov said that he was satisfied that there was great confidence among the public in the caretaker cabinet and he was willing to do everything possible not to disappoint people.

Raykov acknowledged that the choice of ministers in the caretaker cabinet was not his alone.

“I did not choose ministers himself, this was done jointly with the President. He made a huge effort to be able to identify those individuals with high professionalism and that can work as a team,” Raykov said.

Raykov said that he had heard from Borissov only once, when the GERB leader and prime minister from 2009 to March 2013 called to express his support, while Raykov said that he heard from Plevneliev more often.




The Sofia Globe staff

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