Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev has refused to accept the resignation of Military Intelligence head Yordan Bakalov, the Defence Ministry said on October 5.
Bakalov, in office since May, submitted his resignation because of Parliament’s approval of amendments to the law on the Military Intelligence Service that set required qualifications for the post that he does not have.
Nenchev decided not to accept Bakalov’s resignation pending a pronouncement by the President and the promulgation of the law, the Defence Ministry said.
Earlier, the centre-right Reformist Bloc, a minority partner in the governing coalition cabinet, called on President Rossen Plevneliev to veto the changes to the act that would disqualify Bakalov from continuing as head of Military Intelligence.
The statement said that at the October 5 meeting, Nenchev told Bakalov that he appreciates his qualities and continued to have confidence in his ability to reform Military Intelligence and to maintain good relationships with partner agencies.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, speaking to reporters on October 5, defended Bakalov said that to his knowledge, the President would veto the clauses of the Military Intelligence Service legislation concerning the conditions for appointment to the post of director.
Borissov said that he had spoken to Reformist Bloc parliamentary group co-leader Radan Kanev – who on October 2 made the call for the veto of the “anti-Bakalov” clauses – and said that he expected that the clauses would be vetoed and the legislation returned to Parliament for discussion after Bulgaria’s October 25 municipal elections.
The Prime Minister and GERB leader said that he would speak to his parliamentary caucus to find out why they had supported the amendment (proposed by an opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party MP) disqualifying Bakalov, adding that it was no secret that he had proposed Bakalov’s appointment to the Defence Minister.
Borissov said that he liked Bakalov and could not see why Military Intelligence could not have a chief who was a civilian. Bakalov had been interior minister and had served on the internal security committee in Parliament: “He’s not someone taken off the street”.
“He is good enough for us to make use of his qualities,” Borissov said.
(Photo of Nenchev: Defence Ministry)