A loud hubbub, ironic applause, catcalls and a walkout by former ruling party GERB were the reactions in Parliament on June 14 when Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski tabled the nomination of Delyan Peevski, media owner and controversial MP for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, to be the new head of the State Agency for National Security.
With his mother Irina Krasteva, Peevski is involved in the ownership of a number of Bulgarian-language broadcast and print media, including TV7.
He formerly was a deputy minister in the Bulgarian Socialist Party tripartite coalition government that was in power from 2005 and 2009, but was dismissed in 2007 after it was alleged that he had exercised undue influence regarding appointments at tobacco major Bulgartabac. Fired in May that year, he was reinstated a few months later by then-prime minister Sergei Stanishev.
Peevski has been seen as instrumental in negotiations on the share of posts and power given to the MRF for its support for the current administration which Oresharski was appointed to head.
Peevski’s parliamentary biography lists him as a “criminal investigator”. Formerly having been employed in the Sofia judicial investigator’s office, he was reinstated by the Supreme Judicial Council as a judicial investigator in mid-March 2013, the time that the Boiko Borissov government left office after its resignation.
Already, there had been controversy about his earlier employment at the judicial investigator’s office because he had not, at the time, satisfied the requirements for appointment.
The 32-year-old, born in Sofia but elected on the list from Pazardzhik, was a leader of the youth wing of the National Movement Simeon II but became an MP for the MRF.
Peevski will head a State Agency for National Security being remodeled by the Bulgarian Socialist Party to the form it had during the previous tripartite coalition government.
An act amending the law on the agency was among the first moves made by the BSP after the May 2013 elections. Among the changes was to provide for the head of SANS to be appointed by Parliament after a recommendation by the Prime Minister.
Speaking after his June 14 nomination, Peevski said, “the State Agency for National Security (SANS) will start working now. We will not only talk, the way used to be in the past.
“There will not be any squaring of accounts. I will work for the state and its citizens. You will judge my work by my actions,” Peevski said.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov, former interior minister in the GERB government, described the appointment of Peevski to head SANS as “an absolute and complete farce”.
Peevski did not meet the criteria for the post, according to Tsvetanov.
The move would destroy any possibility for Bulgaria to work with the European-Atlantic services in the way it could have and it would be impossible to guarantee the security of the country, Tsvetanov said.
GERB leader Boiko Borissov told journalists that the Peevski appointment was the official signal that the Bulgarian Socialist Party had died.
“I am so shocked by what I have just heard that I cannot even believe it is happening,” Borissov said.
It was all over for the BSP, he said. “As of today, there is only one party ruling in Bulgaria and it is the MRF. The BSP no longer exists,” Borissov said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)