Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev has said that he is “strongly worried” by the appointment of Boyan Chukov to head the Bulgarian Socialist Party government’s security council.
Speaking on July 15, Plevneliev said that all that was known about Chukov was that he had been the right hand of Alexei Petrov when insurance firm Lev Ins was developing its business.
Petrov is a former State Agency for National Security consultant arrested in 2010 on a range of serious organised crime charges.
Plevneliev had been asked by journalists to comment on recent appointments by the socialist government of new regional governors, including former Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Emil Ivanov, who was convicted in 1990 of assault and who had been associated with the operation of controversial business group VIS-2.
The post that Chukov had been given was “something like a chief of the services and who determines their priorities”.
Apart from Chukov’s alleged association with Petrov, “Mr Chukov has repeatedly expressed his support for Mr. Putin’s Eurasian project. We should be aware what appointments are taking place in front of the whole nation. I am strongly worried,” he said.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party government, which took office in May with the support of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the tacit support of Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalist Ataka, sparked daily nationwide protests by tens of thousands of Bulgarians demanding its resignation after it abortively appointed MRF MP Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security.
The government, however, continues to refuse to resign, while former ruling party GERB has embarked on a boycott of the proceedings of Parliament, although GERB leader Boiko Borissov has said that his party would attend sittings of the National Assembly if changes to the electoral laws were being discussed.
The situation has left the country in a situation of continuing political impasse, with a new poll showing that the majority of those polled want the government to step down while it refuses to do so, while there is also concern that even if early elections were held without electoral law reforms preceding them, this would produce a Parliament similar to the existing one, albeit without the presence of the deeply unpopular Siderov and Ataka.
Plevneliev, who around the beginning of July said that the only way out for Bulgaria appeared to be the holding of early elections, told reporters that it would be a pleasure for him to seek a dialogue among the political leaders but “right now I cannot ensure the prerequisites for trust and agreement”.
The President said that the anti-government protests had achieved a great success in that political leaders now knew that irrespective of who was in power, they would be subject to strong civil control.
What would help Bulgaria progress were values, clear priorities and a focus on these, he said.
“Sooner or later there will be dialogue. If it cannot be achieved internally with the strength of the Prime Minister and the National Assembly, it could be sought also on the European arena, which is also ours,” he said.
He said that the governing party, instead of choosing dialogue, had chosen revenge and Ataka. The largest party (GERB) was staying out of Parliament, even though it had signalled readiness for dialogue, he said, in an apparent reference to reported statements this past weekend by Borissov that he was willing to make compromises in dialogue for the sake of the nation.
Plevneliev said that there never had been such division between the leaders of political parties in Parliament as there was now.
Plevneliev, who was speaking after the ceremony to open the final stretch of the Trakiya Motorway, said that the motorway showed that Bulgarians could build bridges. Bulgaria’s political elite, however, would burn any bridges.