Bulgarian PM names Buchvarova new Interior Minister, wants SANS chief and Interior Ministry chief secretary to quit

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on March 5 that he was nominating Deputy Prime Minister Roumyana Buchvarova to become Interior Minister after Vesselin Vuchkov’s resignation, and wanted the resignations of Interior Ministry chief secretary Svetozar Lazarov and State Agency for National Security head Vladimir Pisanchev.

Borissov made the announcements during an unscheduled appearance in the National Assembly, a day after Vuchkov’s resignation – over the thwarting of his plans to get rid of Lazarov and his wish to see Pisanchev gone – unleashed a domestic political storm.

Buchvarova is a senior member of Borissov’s GERB party and became Deputy Prime Minister in charge of coalition policy when the centre-right coalition cabinet took office in November 2014, following negotiations with other parties in which Buchvarova was a key figure in GERB’s three-member negotiating team.

Borissov told Parliament that on March 6, he would request the resignations of Lazarov and Pisanchev.

The National Assembly recently approved amendments to laws that effectively opened the way for the dismissal of the two, both holdovers from the 2013/14 ruling axis of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

But even though the dismissal of the two seemed possible, Borissov had described them as “working hard” and said he was willing to blame their performance under the now-departed administration on Plamen Oresharski, the nominal prime minister of the time.

Borissov again hit out at the Vuchkov resignation, saying that it was an “extremely incorrect act” towards him and the government. The previous day, he railed against Vuchkov’s timing, which coincided with a visit to Bulgaria by the director of the FBI and the president of Azerbaijan.

Borissov told Parliament that he would thank Pisanchev and Lazarov for having worked honorably.

He rejected allegations that he was dependent on the current leaders of these law enforcement and security services.

Radan Kanev, co-leader of the parliamentary group of the Reformist Bloc, the minority partner in the coalition cabinet, told reporters that he had held long talks with Borissov and it had become clear that Vuchkov’s resignation was irrevocable.

Kanev said that he had received assurances from Borissov that Pisanchev and Lazarov would be replaced.



The Sofia Globe staff

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