Bulgaria central bank governor offers to step down

Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) governor Ivan Iskrov said on July 22 that he was ready to submit his resignation if the country’s lawmakers were prepared to swiftly designate a successor to take charge of the central bank.

In an emotional letter to Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov, which was also published on the BNB website, Iskrov said that he did not wish “the central bank and its governor to be used for electoral political purposes”.

Iskrov said that he had become the target of “systematic and unfair accusations” with regard to the central bank’s handling of the Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), which was put under BNB’s administration on June 20.

(Iskrov’s letter did not, however, touch on the topic of why CCB, Bulgaria’s fourth largest bank by assets, ended in a situation of having insufficient liquidity and had to ask to be put under central bank conservatorship, rather than getting a liquidity injection from the BNB.)

In recent days, political parties have demanded the resignation of the BNB governor, Iskrov said – a reference to opposition party GERB, whose leader Boiko Borissov has demanded that such a motion be put to vote in Parliament – but it was merely an attempt to make a scapegoat of the central bank, according to the BNB governor.

“I can and will bear my responsibility as governor of the BNB, but I cannot and have no right to be held responsible for the failed political commitments of a political party,” Iskrov said.

He said he would submit his resignation as soon as political parties in the current National Assembly – due to be prorogued on August 6 to pave the way for snap elections on October 5 – reached an agreement on the election of a new governor.

Iskrov said that a swift appointment was “the right approach to guarantee the institutional stability of the central bank”. He said that if he were to resign, his term would automatically come to an end three months after the resignation, regardless whether a new governor has been appointed.

Iskrov currently has a year left on his second term as governor of the BNB, but some reports in Bulgarian media have claimed that he could make a bid to return to Parliament – having been an MP for two years prior to his appointment to the BNB in 2003 – in the early elections in October.

(Bulgarian National Bank governor Ivan Iskrov. Photo: BBCC)



The Sofia Globe staff

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