Sofia and other Bulgarian cities and towns saw a total of thousands turn out in spontaneous protest against the election by Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms MPs of MRF MP and media boss Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security.
The choice of Peevski, which caused dissent even among the BSP parliamentary caucus, was approved in Parliament without debate and with a scant 15 minutes between nomination and election.
In the short, gaffe-prone first few weeks of the new government, the Peevski takeover of the State Agency for National Security appeared initially to be most damaging of all to BSP leader Sergei Stanishev, whose backdown to the MRF in appointing the controversial MP led to media reports of leaks from socialist circles that Stanishev’s leadership of the party would face a revolt.
A revolt of a different kind was in evidence in the rain-drenched streets of the Bulgarian capital, as a protest mobilised in a few hours on social network Facebook resulted in thousands gathering outside the Cabinet office building, chanting “goodbye”, “resign”, “Red rubbish”, and “we do not want a government of the energy mafia”.
On Twitter, the most used hashtag related to the protest against Peevski’s appointment was #дансwithme.
Boiko Borissov, leader of the former ruling party GERB, who led his caucus in a walkout over the Peevski election, earlier called on high-profile members of his party not to participate in the protests. At the same time, he pronounced the BSP as dead and said it was clear that the MRF had seized power in the country.
In a declaration sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly, socialist Mihail Mihov, by about 20 NGOs said that the naming of Peevski to the post would worsen the institutional crisis in Bulgaria and lead to the country’s international isolation.
The declaration called on the National Assembly to overthrow the election of the head of the State Agency for National Security, organise a fresh election “according to accepted parliamentary procedure”, while underlining that the Peevski election was “politically disastrous for the life and reputation of Bulgarian democracy today and in the future”.
(Main photo: twitter.com/beboredtodeath)