Bulgaria’s changing of the guard: The big picture

The decisions by the head of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security and Interior Ministry chief secretary to give way to the inevitable and resign on March 6 are part of a broader process of personnel decisions in top posts by the centre-right coalition cabinet in office since November 2014.

Ahead of the early parliamentary elections last year, GERB party leader Boiko Borissov – then already seen as certain to return to the office of prime minister he had vacated in 2013 – campaigned on a platform of stability.

There are levels of meaning to that pledge, made mainly against the backdrop of the turbulence that the country had experienced after the early elections of 2013. Those elections indeed did see Borissov’s party get the most votes and the largest share of seats in Parliament, but in a National Assembly in which he had no allies, Borissov had to stand aside so that the mandate to govern could be handed to the second-ranked Bulgarian Socialist Party.

That BSP, then under the leadership of Sergei Stanishev – already so often trounced at the hands of Borissov – moved swiftly with a deal with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and with the support of far-right ultra-nationalists Ataka, presented the country with a ruling axis that was determined to eradicate the legacy of the 2009/13 Borissov government.

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(Archive photo: Interior Ministry chief secretary Svetozar Lazarov, Tsvetlin Yovchev – who was interior minister in the 2013/14 BSP government, and SANS chief Vladimir Pisanchev)