Delyan Peevski, whose appointment as director of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) on June 14 prompted thousands of people to take to the streets in protest, said on June 15 that he was prepared to step down if Parliament decided to revoke its decision.
In a letter sent to local media, Peevski stopped short of submitting his resignation, saying that he had not yet signed his contract, meaning that he had not taken office as the director of SANS.
Peevski, an MP for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and media boss, did not give a reason for his decision, but said he was the target of a smear campaign.
Speaking on behalf of the ruling coalition, made of MRF and the socialists, Peevski said: “We assumed the responsibility to govern in the name of public interest after four years of government by individuals with a criminal genesis from the underground. For them, power is a goal; out of power they feel not safe, fearing the inevitable revelations.”
“This is why they embarked on the path of destruction and have targeted me, because they know that I am a man who can oppose them effectively,” he said, sticking to the narrative pushed by other ruling coalition politicians on June 14, namely that the opposition to his appointment was orchestrated by political rivals GERB.
About 10 000 people protested in Sofia and several thousand in various other Bulgarian cities and towns on June 14, using social media to organise. Plans for follow-up protests on June 15 were also being made – the main Facebook event had more than 60 000 people confirm their participation.
Public indignation is based on objections to Peevski himself and the speed with which he was appointed – scarcely 15 minutes passed between the nomination and Peevski’s oath, with no debates on the parliamentary floor or public discussion of his nomination.
Parliament’s next scheduled sitting is on June 19. It was not immediately clear whether it will convene earlier than that date, nor whether it would consider revoking Peevski. Before the protests on June 14, MPs from the two parties in the ruling coalition said that they had no intention to do so, despite calls from President Rossen Plevneliev and 20 civil society NGOs, who asked for a new and transparent process.
(Peevski, in the middle of the top row, on an election poster for MRF for the May 2013 parliamentary elections. Photo: dps.bg)