Battle looms in Bulgaria over next changes to security services

The embattled Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) government is pressing ahead with its grasping for a consolidation of power through restructuring of the security services, again setting it on a collision course with the head of state, President Rossen Plevneliev.

The current government is in power in spite of the BSP having run second in the May 2013 elections, assuming office because former ruling party, Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB, won the most votes but found itself in a National Assembly with no allies with which to form a governing coalition.

It was a move in the security sector that unleashed what is now more than 74 days of mass anti-government protests, when the BSP and its allies the Movement for Rights and Freedoms sought to place controversial figure Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security.

The first round of changes made, along with widespread changes countrywide in leadership positions in Interior Ministry structures, resulted in the Chief Directorate for Combating Organised Crime under the State Agency for National Security – and while the latter was not headed by Peevski after national revolt against the idea, the agency was given a new head more palatable to the new axis after the incumbent from the GERB era quit.

On August 24, it became clear that the BSP-MRF axis, which has the tacit if conditional support of ultra-nationalists Ataka, now intended to go ahead with changes affecting the National Bodyguard Service and the National Intelligence Service.

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(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)