The offer by Delyan Peevski to withdraw as head of the State Agency for National Security is accepted, Plamen Oresharski, who sits in the prime minister’s chair in the current Bulgarian Socialist Party government, said on June 15.
The statement from the government media office said that the withdrawal of Peevski had been agreed on with the leaders of the BSP and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms “as a display of responsibility and maturity in the situation”, a statement made against a background of widespread indignation in protests in major cities against the Peevski appointment.
The statement quoted Oresharski as saying that he had received the assurance of heads of parties supporting the government in Parliament that they would support a government proposal to annul the election of Peevski.
“This opens an opportunity for me to suggest a new candidate after consultations,” Oresharski was quoted as saying in the statement.
Since the new government came into office on May 29, Oresharski has had the job of announcing various appointments, including the Cabinet and other top posts, these being the result of bargaining between the BSP and MRF. When the BSP got the chance to come into power, party leader Sergei Stanishev insisted that the government would be a “programme cabinet” made up of “experts”.
The raucous debacle around the election of Peevski, an MRF MP, former tripartite coalition deputy minister of disaster management and powerful media boss, not only led to condemnation domestically, a distancing by the President, hints of discomfort from Western diplomats and international coverage of the controversy, but also to open calls from some in the BSP for party leader Sergei Stanishev to step down.
A few BSP MPs have spoken publicly at their discontent at the election of Peevski. The party’s parliamentary caucus was warned that failure to back Peevski ultimately would bring down the government, which is held in place by the MRF.
Media reports said that a petition had been initiated for the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s highest body to meet to, in effect, throw Stanishev out of the leadership and elect a new party leader. Some were not prepared even to let that process play out. Former cabinet minister Roumen Petkov, long a critic of Stanishev and an ally of former BSP leader Georgi Purvanov, said on June 15 that it would be best for Stanishev to quit by the end of the day.
A second consecutive protest was arranged in Sofia and other cities, with a starting time of 6.30pm on Saturday. Reports said that some involved in the protest, which was organised on social network Facebook, had said that it would go ahead irrespective of whether Peevski’s tenure as head of SANS was brought to an end.