Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev’s announcement on December 21 that he would not appoint a caretaker cabinet but would leave this to his successor Roumen Radev drew predictably mixed reactions – with some parties describing his move as “responsible” and “statesmanlike” while critics described it as deepening the crisis and violating the constitution.
Plevneliev, who leaves office on January 22, told the nation in an address broadcast live that it would be absurd for Bulgaria to have two caretaker governments in rapid succession.
There was no point in appointing a caretaker cabinet now that would not even have the task of preparing early parliamentary elections, he said.
The harshest reactions to Plevneliev’s move came from parties that have a tradition of enmity towards him after he was elected President at the end of 2011 on the ticket of Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party.
Valeri Zhablyanov, an MP for the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, said that Plevneliev’s decision deepened Bulgaria’s crisis and was an attempt to create an unmanageable situation before Radev’s inauguration as president.
Tsveta Karayancheva, an MP for GERB, said that Plevneliev’s decision was “extremely responsible”.
She said that Plevneliev had proposed to Radev to jointly come up with a caretaker cabinet but Radev had shirked his responsibility.
It would be “ridiculous and unreasonable” to have two successive caretaker governments, Karayancheva said.
Mustafa Karadaya, leader of the National Assembly’s third-largest group, the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, said that Plevneliev’s December 21 announcement was “normal and statesmanlike behaviour”.
Karadaya said that Radev could not be reproached because he had not yet taken office.
Valeri Simeonov, co-leader of the nationalist Patriotic Front, said that Plevneliev’s decision was “normal and expected”, adding that during this period, Plevneliev had behaved very worthily.
Rebukes could come only from people who were watching their party interests and did not care about the country, Simeonov said, lashing out at Radev’s behaviour as that of an “incompetent and cowardly person”.
Georgi Purvanov, outgoing leader of the socialist minority breakaway party ABC and himself a former two-term head of state, said that Plevneliev had gravely violated the constitution, which obliged a president to appoint a caretaker government after the mandate-handing process ended with no result.
Purvanov described his successor Plevneliev’s term as one of “blunders, mistakes and unfortunate steps”.
He said that Plevneliev had no choice in the matter of appointing a caretaker cabinet and alleged that the President was acting under the dictation of Borissov – who in the absence of a caretaker administration will remain in office until Plevneliev’s term ends.
It was only a lack of time that would save Plevneliev from being impeached, Purvanov said. In the current situation, the most logical step was for Plevneliev to resign, he said.